Contemplating the artistic merit of a sperm bank

The garden at The Nasher Sculpture Garden

Here’s a suggestion for all of you art lovers out there: visit the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Tx., and partake in the exhibition Sightings: Anne Le Troter, which ponders the wild and whimsical world of sperm banks.

The installation isn’t really about sperm. Sightings features audio samples that artist Le Troter collected “from a U.S.-based cryobank, a facility or enterprise that collects and stores human sperm,” according to the official description. Using those recordings, “the samples form portraits of prospective donors, which Le Troter distorts through the repetition of certain phrases, utterances, and pauses.”

What this means is, you walk into a room (we won’t post a photo of the room here, it’s just a room) and listen to little sound clips of people talking about sperm, or more specifically, the men who produced it. And the floor is covered with plastic cling wrap, just like in a real sperm bank.

Besides the bodily fluid-proof floors, the exhibition is surprisingly provocative, and not at all sexual. The sound clips—Le Troter describes them as “language blocks”—bounce from the speakers in quick bursts, pardon the word “bursts,” and conjure images of people engaged in solemn discussions about sperm donor pedigree. This one is outdoorsy, that one adores his wife, who to choose? The sperm-selection process somewhat dehumanizes the donors, which is ironic, since the whole idea is to create a new human.

The Nasher is one of the most popular cultural attractions in Dallas, not only because of the impressive collection of sculptures, but also the museum itself is a lovely place, especially the garden (photo above). Any visit to Dallas is made better with a stop at the Nasher, where you can ponder the chilling drama of the di Suervo, or watch the museum curators scold children for climbing on the Miró. And the gift shop is amazeballs.

Sightings: Anne Le Troter runs until Feb. 2, 2020.