It revealed itself with a white-hot intensity on Sept. 26, 2011. No one knew what it was — how it got there or where it came from. But all of those answers soon revealed themselves, giving The Glare, as it came to be known, a permanent place in Dallas history.
The Glare is still there, but a decade later — the 10th anniversary of this infamous discovery is Sunday — Dallas continues to be amazed by its force and power and the casualties left in its wake.
The Glare is not an invention of Stephen King, and yet, it had (continues to have) a sci-fi effect on the Nasher Sculpture Center, whose walls on a sunny day look as though they’re stricken with measles. The Glare is the shiny reflection emanating from the glass exterior of the building next door, 42-story Museum Tower, which in 2011 was under construction.
What Nasher officials discovered around 3 p.m. on a September afternoon a decade ago grew in intensity as the months went by. And what ensued was truly miraculous. After The Dallas Morning News broke the story of The Glare in early 2012, it made its way into Vanity Fair and the front page of The New York Times. Cable documentaries have been made about The Glare, which created one of the nastiest controversies in the history of the Dallas art world — and that’s only part of the story.
What The Glare ended up doing was redirecting its white-hot intensity onto the owners of Museum Tower, the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System. By the five-year anniversary of The Glare, the pension fund teetered on the brink of insolvency and was forced to work out a deal with the city of Dallas for a financial rescue plan — via the state Legislature. The Glare even managed to topple the former head of the pension fund, Richard Tettamant, whom critics assail for having squandered the retirement money of the city’s first responders with outrageous investments in luxury real estate, Museum Tower being (forgive us) the most glaring example.
And yet, despite The Glare emerging as its own version of a sci-fi thriller, the problem 10 years after is still there. Indeed, nothing has been done to fix it. The Nasher garden remains unusually parched and hot, and yes, the walls still have measles. We turned to the Nasher for comment and got in response this statement, from its director of external affairs, Jill Magnuson:
“We are obviously disappointed that at this milestone the reflective glare from Museum Tower’s façade continues to have a negative impact on the Nasher Sculpture Center’s indoor and outdoor galleries. Nevertheless, we remain committed to working toward the restoration of our original conditions and are hopeful with technology innovations that we can realize this solution as we continue to serve this community as a vital educational and cultural resource.”
We promise to check in again on Sept. 26, 2031.