Museum Tower – A Higher Perspective


A Higher Perspective

Time to put all this to bed. I feel from the other side, behind the veil, Ray Nasher is smiling. He likes this new addition to his sculpture garden called Museum Tower.

What is sculpture? What is art?

Maybe it’s time to get a little philosophical here and shed some light (no pun intended) on the controversy between Museum Tower and the Nasher Sculpture Center.

I’ve been fascinated with Museum Tower since its conception. I think it’s one of the most beautiful additions to our city’s skyline. I can remember all the excitement back in June 2010 when they broke ground. I watched the tower unfold over the next two years from my twenty story balcony on Turtle Creek.

As a residential real estate broker and a lover of architecture, I’ve always been in awe of Reno Piano’s Nasher Sculpture Center design and space. In fact I’ve always thought it would be cool to have a home built like the Nasher. Whenever company or friends would come into town, the Nasher is the place we would go to experience beauty, creativity, and joy.

In my opinion, Scott Johnson’s Museum Tower has taken Dallas into the 21st century architectural playing field. One of my favorite views of the Museum Tower is from Central Expressway and Henderson, where you see Museum Tower, I.M. Pei’s Fountain Place, and Kevin Roche’s Bank of America all together. I think the view of these three buildings creates a beautiful, spectacular, and unique vista of our skyline.

One of the most creative works at The Nasher is the sky space Tending, (BLUE) by James Turrell. I always brought my guests inside the piece, and we would meditate and have amazing experiences, almost like we were in the Kings Chamber in the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. I am saddened and do not understand how an artist can declare something as Tending (BLUE) destroyed, for isn’t art a personal experience for what the piece brings out in you emotionally and spiritually? Each individual experience is unique and perfect to the witness of that experience in their own time and space. Is BLUE really “destroyed”.  I used to love to sit inside there, look up through the ceiling, and study the clouds passing by, enjoy the birds flying over and marvel as the jet planes prepared for their landing. The best part of BLUE was the energy inside. The rest is all just art and life unfolding. As the 19th Century French romantic artist Eugene Delacroix said, “Les artistes qui cherchent la perfection dans tout ce sont ceux qui ne peuvent pas atteindre à rien.” meaning “Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything”. I patiently wait for the day The Nasher reopens BLUE so I can look up and marvel and experience and behold The Museum Tower sculpture from this new perspective.

After spending hours doing research on the internet, it dawned on me that I would have to do this the good old fashion way and head down to the Downtown Dallas Public Library archives.

On our way downtown to do research, my assistant, Patrick and I got caught up in all the Downtown construction detours. We ended up on the other side of Downtown at our Robert A. M. Stern’s Ritz Carlton. It being lunchtime, we figured, “Why not?”

After an elegant lunch, we finally found our way downtown to the Dallas Public Library, right across from Dallas City Hall. I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall, definitely an interesting building to study.

As I walked from my car to the library, I studied this unique piece of architecture which houses our city government. It’s basically an upside down building, and in my opinion, an energetic mess. I reminisce about the time when I went to Dallas City Hall chambers years back to share Lakewood/East Dallas’ concerns over a controversial 25 story high-rise proposed to be built on White Rock Lake. I actually got somewhat sea sick inside the building. For those who have never visited the chambers, you enter an upside down building, go up an escalator and then go down stairs inside the chambers. I thought I was going to lose my breakfast. This is where Dallas conducts all its business. No wonder the City of Dallas Government dropped the ball on Museum Tower.

We arrived at the correct floor at the Library and started our research. My hunch was right, I did remember correctly and the facts and the headlines appeared before my eyes. WOW!!!

”Raymond Nasher versus Caruth”
”Artful Dodger”
”Growth intrudes on Caruth Farm”
”Development blocked by council”
”Nasher Garden donation”
”Shaping a dream”
”Council members hope Caruth developers got message”
”Nasher and Crow over Crow Land”
”Crow sets sights on Caruth Mall”
”Crow, Nasher, grapple for turf and battle of the titans”
”City promises developer nothing”
”Land case jury to reconvene”
”University Park stalls North Central Plan”
“Shaping a Dream”
“Innovative sunscreens”

The Untold Story

Where’s the journalist Laura Miller when you really need her?

The drama began long before The Nasher Sculpture Center’s tiff with Museum Tower. There was a play on Raymond Nasher to rezone his 39-acre of undeveloped land at the corner of Northwest Highway and North Central Expressway. He wanted the land across from Northpark mall changed from residential to commercial because it was a prime candidate for commercial development and was consistently declined for rezoning by the Dallas City Council throughout the years. The zoning change would make this land extremely valuable. Raymond Nasher could not get the city to change the zoning for him. The reason being, the 300-plus homeowners living by this property have always fought him. Back in 1991, Nasher lost a 6:8 defeat at the hands of the city planning commission.

Then in 1996 comes the Nasher Sculpture Gardens’ bartering with the City of Dallas. The Downtown Dallas Arts District gets a world renowned sculpture garden in exchange for a zoning change. A win, win for everyone? Not exactly. The losers in this case were 350-plus Park Cities home owners who have been fighting the zoning change for decades.

The boys and their sandbox. In 1980, Ray Nasher and Trammel Crow filed a law suit against each other for the old Caruth property across from Northpark. Both men wanted to develop the property commercially. Crow held a series of options that were supposedly contingent upon getting the land rezoned for development. Crow never could and then somehow in 1980, Nasher purchased the plot. Crow sued Nasher, Nasher counter-sued. The case was settled on the eve of the trial in 1981. Nasher kept the property.

Since 1994, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s chosen land had been a 2.1 acre parking lot in the western half of city blocks 527 and 528, 2001 Flora Street. This site sits just north of Trammel Crow Center and directly across from the Dallas Museum of Art. Basically, Crow owned the land that Nasher wanted for his sculpture garden and the cat and mouse game went on for quite a while. Nasher finally got his way with the city threatening condemnation on Crow’s property in the middle of the art’s district.

Newton’s Law of Cause and Effect

I have come to understand the true law of the universe is action and reaction. Some people call it the boomerang effect. In some cultures they use the word Karma and of course Jesus of Nazareth said you reap what you sow. Let’s focus on this theme of Karma. Newton’s 3rd law – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

So Karma? Energy? As a twenty year meditator, I have been studying energy from all different backgrounds and recently read about how we are now in the Age of Energy. We have gone from the Agricultural Age, to the Industrial Age and now we are here, in the Age of Energy. A remarkable contemplation. The Age of Energy, and what does this really mean? Internet, Science, Technology, Quantum Physics, Meditation, Spirituality, ENERGY!!!

We forget that a few people’s actions can change the future course of so many consequences, good and bad. What some may think is good can be considered bad to others and what some perceive to be bad can be good. Neighborhoods and zoning. Sculpture gardens and high-rise towers. Architecture and art. The big concern these days seems to be that big brother is watching us? The NSA and all the Government spying, Drones, etc., but what about God watching us? How are we conducting ourselves as human beings? What energies or karmas are we creating for our fellow man…for our city? For our planet? For ourselves?

No one really ever knows how the universe eventually plays out. And yes, our world has gotten very complicated. I am currently in a personal situation I thought was over 15 years ago. I am now in deep contemplation about what my Karma is in this situation, what this is really all about, and what new lessons I need to learn.

Could it be that Museum Tower is a result of an energy…a karma, caused by the actions of Ray Nasher and a few others? I do find it ironic that one man’s decision and desire that goes against a neighborhoods’ will, with the support of a city government and a golden carrot, can come back to possibly bite him with the same city government’s lack of attention to intention. This is an interesting perspective. How all of the drama plays out and affects each one of us personally and our city collectively, is quite wild.

Around 9/11, I read about a course called FEAR, BLAME and RESPONSIBILTY. It’s the emotions…mentally, physically and spiritually, of how and what we do as human beings as we process certain challenging events in our life. Based on Fear we make certain decisions then comes the blame part then when we want to end the pain and suffering, we finally take the responsibility for the event. At that point with the beautiful and profound energy of forgiveness, we are able to heal and move forward in our lives. It’s baffling to me how the American Culture is not very good at accepting their Karma. We are so easy to blame and then with all the over lawyering of our society, how do we balance this action, this karma?

Karma is a Sanskrit word that means action. Are all actions from the divine? What are the different actions and reactions to a particular energy? A cause and effect? Is this truly the law of the universe?

Fear, wow, it can be strong. Blame is hurtful and can be downright mean. There has been so much written over the past few years around Museum Tower and The Nasher containing nasty accusations and finger pointing. Both sides have a responsibility, as does the City of Dallas. In my opinion, the City of Dallas government and the city planning commission is the biggest culprit in this cause and effect. Now there is a rumor that The Nasher will pull out of Dallas and relocate to another city or country and sell their land to another developer for a high-rise and make Museum Tower the bad guy. More fear and more blame! When will all this stop? I recently heard that a former high profile Dallas Citizens wife will not step foot in Museum Tower. Seriously? A client of mine became angered when I suggested we look at units in Museum Tower. I’m completely flabbergasted by all this. You won’t step foot in this amazing 21st Century Sculpture of Architecture? Why so much anger? ENOUGH!

Now the City government is all over the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund’s business. Another ironic twist, The Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund financed the Northpark Mall addition and if I remember correctly, a loan to finish the completion of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Both can be right and both can be wrong. The Nasher Sculpture Garden and Museum Tower are each tremendous gifts to our city. GIFTS!!! Today, we can acknowledge that both are here now. Which means everything is in divine order! Both are beautiful and both complement one another rather remarkably. Let’s revel in each ones greatness, continue to be proud and support both.

Dallas, The City of Forgiveness

So responsibility, forgiveness? Dallas has become the City of Forgiveness with all that has transpired in our city over the past 50 years. Dallas is also a city of winners. There is no other city in our great nation like ours. Let us continue to unfold and grow. We have a spirit here like nowhere else!

We have Pegasus Plaza, another profound gift to our city. The Pegasus, the beautiful red horse of passion is guiding our way as he hits his hoof on the ground, creating the eternal spring for the nine sacred muses. Our winged divine stallion says this is our time…The Year 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse.

The winners are the ones with Nasher Sculpture Center memberships enjoying all the creativity, art and joy. The winners are moving ahead and purchasing units and making their homes at Museum Tower.

Opinions, Perspectives, Experiences, and Enlightenment. Can we say, yes, there is so much of God’s Healing, Love, and Light shining from above and showering such glory over the Nasher. A recent photo I took from a friends unit shows the brilliance of this experience. And yes, in this new century, they build towers all over the world out of glass!


Let’s shift our perspectives, let’s forgive and individually take responsibility in the joyful sharing of our beloved sculpture garden with all the thousands and thousands of people moving to Dallas. Let’s all become members of the Nasher Sculpture Center and bring our family, new guests, and friends.

Love, forgive, celebrate… this achievement of art, form and light. That is what Dallas is all about.

And this Saturday, February 1st, the Chinese New Year Celebrations began …The Year of The horse…OUR YEAR

This is DALLAS’ YEAR!!! We human beings love ritual and ceremony. Let’s join in the celebrations at the Crow Museum of Asian Art all year long and revel in our Gifts. For we are blessed with the most beautiful and largest arts district in the world …which currently includes The Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower.

Yes… we truly are BLESSED!!

-Scott Carlson

© Scott Carlson

One Response to “ Museum Tower – A Higher Perspective ”

  1. [...] Real Estate agents. This blog is their sandbox, and the consumer is invited to play and STAY. Dallas Real Estate Broker Scott Carlson has written on the Museum Tower-Nasher dispute. When I first read his post, I was reminded once again of why Realtors are such great local keepers [...]