The Dallas Museum of Art is proud to announce the acquisition and installation of Mark Handforth’s contemporary sculpture Dallas Snake as part of Concentrations, an ongoing exhibition series that recognizes the critical and challenging work of emerging international contemporary artists.
Curated by Suzanne Weaver, the Tim and Nancy Hanley Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, the exhibition opened March 23 in the Museum Sculpture Garden.
The enormous, site-specific, commissioned piece is now on display and was made specifically for this space. It marks the first piece of exclusively designed art for the DMA since Ellsworth Kelly’s piece, Untitled, was installed in the Scuplture Garden in 1984.
Dallas Snake towers over the garden at an impressive 15 feet tall, rising above the Garden wall to the east to peek over the wall to Mark Di Suvero’s sculpture Ave (1973). As the newest addition to the Sculpture Garden, this piece creates a thought-provoking juxtaposition with the more formal marble and metal pieces that surround it.
Handforth has said of the piece “the chain snake is an oversized readymade, an aggrandized piece of folk art—the kind of thing you might put your mailbox on, but of catastrophic proportion.”
The industrial Snake is composed of three mangled recycled objects braided together—an I-Beam, a red lamp post, and foot-long anchor chains. These unique objects come together to create a giant and elegant abstraction of a cobra.
Dallas Snake is not unlike other works by the artist, who often uses industrial objects to share his view of the urban landscape. Handforth has been known to use benches, street signs, street lamps and even Vespa motorbikes in his projects. The fluid and organic process he uses to produce these pieces is very unique; although he is well-versed in conventional sculpture process, he often breaks the existing vocabulary and invents new ways to create.
Handforth’s sculptures bring new meaning to the texts and objects that map out the routines of our everyday lives and invite the viewer to reconsider the ways we engage with the built environment—what Ed Ruscha once called the “unreported facts” all around us. The result is a body of work that masterfully draws inspiration from a variety of sources: Bernini’s gravity-defying Saint Theresa (1647–1652), the modern line of Anthony Caro, Claes Oldenberg’s humor, and Dan Flavin’s affinity for electric light.
Handforth was born in Hong Kong and has lived and worked in Miami, Florida since graduating from the Slade School of Art in London and Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany. Other sculptures that are part of his outdoor twisted lamppost series can be viewed around the country, including New York’s Central Park. Previously, the artist has been exhibited as a solo artist at: the Modern Institute in Glasgow, the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.
Concentrations exhibition support is provided by the Donor Circle membership program through leadership gifts of Claire Dewar, Nancy and Tim Hanley, Caren Prothro, and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. Air transportation provided by American Airlines.
About the Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art, established in 1903, has an encyclopedic collection of more than 23,000 works spanning 5,000 years of history and representing all media with renowned strengths in the arts of the ancient Americas, Africa, Indonesia and South Asia; European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts; and American and international contemporary art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is the anchor of the Dallas Arts District and serves more than one-half million visitors a year, offering more than 3,500 education and public programs annually designed to engage people of all ages with the power and excitement of art.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
The Museum is located just south of Woodall Rodgers Freeway with driveways on both Harwood and St. Paul providing access to the underground parking garage. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Thursday, when the Museum stays open until 9 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.