New Museum of Contemporary Art
Program: Access to Arts
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Nari Ward Exhibition
The New Museum presents groundbreaking exhibitions of contemporary art at its home on the Lower East Side of New York City, anchoring a vibrant and developing arts community.
Purpose: To support the first museum survey in New York of the work of Nari Ward.
The exhibition, “Nari Ward: We the People,” on view from February to June 2019, featured over 30 sculptures, paintings, videos, and large-scale installations from across Ward’s 25-year career.
Nari Ward Biography: Born in Jamaica, Ward has lived in New York since childhood and his work is rooted in the social history of the city. Since the early 1990s, Ward has transformed humble everyday materials, often gathered from the streets of his neighborhood, into objects and installations that touch on more universal experiences of migration and displacement, identity and democracy, and expansive notions of spiritual and social communities. His approach evokes a variety of folk traditions and creative acts of recycling from Jamaica, where he was born, as well as the material textures of Harlem, where he has lived and worked for the past twenty-five years. Ward follows in the path of earlier African American artists from the 1960s onwards who used notions of accumulation and assemblage to narrate individual histories and capture moments of social and political upheaval. Across his diverse productions, Ward has proven to be one of the most sensitive and thoughtful commenters on diasporic culture and how its history is written into the fabric of New York and America as a whole.