Nari Ward, our alumnus of 92′, is on view through May 26 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan.
From The New York Times website:
“The persistent and liberating message in Nari Ward’s sculpture and room-size installations is that art can be made from virtually anything. In his midcareer retrospective at the New Museum, “We the People,”this means old carpets, plastic bags, bottles, zippers, bed springs, keys and furniture. Hundreds of fold-up baby strollers take up a gallery in “Amazing Grace” (1993), while a canopy of yarn, rope and other found materials are used to create “Hunger Cradle” (1996). “We the People” (2011), nodding to the preamble of the United States Constitution, has that title spelled out in colored shoelaces embedded in a wall.
Using found materials to make art is a radical, if decades-old, tactic. In the late 1950s, the artist Allan Kaprow predicted that artists would use everyday objects, including chairs, food, electric and neon lights, old socks and billboards. Many of these items appear in Mr. Ward’s show. And although Mr. Ward came up through the art system — he was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome and shows regularly in New York galleries and global biennials — his work also resembles folk art and relates to specific locations, documents and histories.
“We the People” reminds you of street memorials with shoes thrown over tree branches or telephone wires. But who is the “we” in this work? It might apply to everyone covered under the Constitution, since these words come from its preamble — except that we know, historically, that the Constitution hasn’t been applied similarly or equally to people of the African diaspora, like Mr. Ward, who was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States when he was 12.”
Read the full article here.