Day Trips: Tony Tasset’s Eye Sculpture, Dallas

Gerald E. McLeod, The Austin Chronicle, August 12, 2022


The Eye has it

The Eye in Dallas is upon you. As you walk down Main Street through the concrete canyons of downtown, a 30-foot eye stares from a gated lawn.

 

The fiberglass-and-steel bloodshot eyeball with a sky-blue iris does its part to keep Dallas weird.

The larger-than-life eye debuted in 2010 by artist Tony Tasset for the Chicago Loop Alliance's Art Loop program. Among Tasset's many other public art installations is a giant copy of his wife's hand on the grounds of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dallas-based businessman Timothy Headington brought the ocular art to the lot across the street from his swanky Joule hotel in 2013. Since then the fenced lawn has hosted weddings, private parties, the Dallas Art Fair's Eye Ball, and served as background for countless selfies.

Over the years folks have guessed at the artist's intended meaning of the art that used his own eye as a model. On the hotel's website, Tasset is quoted as saying the piece means "whatever you want."



In the heart of downtown Dallas, the Joule is known for decorating the public spaces of the former bank building with artwork by famous artists. Headington, who made his fortune in the oil and gas industry, holds an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Oklahoma.

Eye is set back from the street at 1601 Main St. between Akard and Ervay streets. Two blocks away is the AT&T Discovery District, another downtown landmark. The conglomerate of dining and entertainment opportunities surrounds a green space. The pocket park is watched over by Spirit of Communication, a gold statue that once towered over Broadway in New York City.

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