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Nari Ward

PRESS

Museum Magazine

August 31, 2017

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Artnet

May 18, 2017

PRESS

The New York Times

January 27, 2017

News

The New York Times

July 8 2016

News

Nari Ward brings Mango Tourists and other exotics to the Barnes Foundation The Philadelphia Inquirer

June 25 2016

News

Nari Ward: The story behind an artwork in the artist's own words Modern Painters

June 1 2016

News

Sculpture Finds a Parking Space on the High Line Wall Street Journal

April 30 2016

News

Sculpture Finds a Parking Space on the High Line Wall Street Journal

April 27 2016

News

An Artist and a Poet Capture Death in a Hospice Room T Magazine

April 16 2016

News

A Sense of Placeness High Line Magazine

April 14 2016

News

Homegrown philanthropy fuels the new Speed Art Museum The Art Newspaper

March 10 2016

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Video: Nari Ward show at Pérez Art Museum Miami Miami Herald

February 21 2016

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The Historical and Fictional Worlds of Nari Ward Hyperallergic

February 11 2016

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Nari Ward with Nicole Smythe-Johnson Miami Rail

December 12 2015

News

Nari Ward’s found object sculptures explore history and power Financial Times

December 4 2015

News

Book Signing with Nari Ward Pérez Art Museum Miami

December 3 2015

News

Nari Ward Looks Back at Two Decades of Work in "Sun Splashed" at PAMM

November 28 2015

News

Art Basel Week 2015 Guide: At the Museums Miami Herald

November 26 2015

News

In 'Breathing Directions,' Nari Ward Gathers Layers of African-American History New York Times

October 30 2015

News

Nari Ward at Lehmann Maupin Art in America

October 30 2015

News

25 Most Collectable Midcareer Artists: Nari Ward Artnet

September 30 2015

News

See: Nari Ward's Breathing Directions New York Magazine

September 26 2015

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Timeless Symbols Pack Nari Ward’s Sculptures with Meaning The Creators Project

September 24 2015

News

Nari Ward BOMB Magazine

September 17 2015

News

Nari Ward: Breathing Directions at Lehmann Maupin Elephant Magazine

September 16 2015

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Forbes

March 27, 2015

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Forbes

March 25, 2015

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Forbes

March 24, 2015

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Design & Trend

March 10, 2015

News

Nari Ward’s "Divination X" to Grace Gardner Museum Façade Boston Magazine

January 5 2015

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Artnet News

June 9, 2014

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Sculpture Magazine

June 2013

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Frieze

May 2013

News

Mousse Magazine Nari Ward interviewed by Anna Daneri

April 2013

News

New York Times Review 'NYC 1993' Exhibition at New Museum

February 14, 2013

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The New York Times

February 14, 2013

News

Whitewall Magazine Installation View: Nari Ward's 1993

February 1, 2013

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Whitewall

February 1, 2013

News

New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York Nari Ward: Amazing Grace

January 17 - April 21, 2013

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The Wall Street Journal

January 16, 2013

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ARTnews

January 2013

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The Brooklyn Rail

April 30, 2012

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New York Observer

April 27, 2012

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Huffington Post

April 8, 2012

News

Nari Ward Receives Rome Prize

April 2012

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Designboom

March 31, 2012

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Artinfo

March 27, 2012

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Modern Painters

January 31, 2012

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Philadelphia Weekly

November 2, 2011

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International Review of African American Art

November 30, 2010

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ARTnews

April 30, 2010

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Art in America

April 30, 2010

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Artforum

April 30, 2010

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The New York Times

April 2, 2010

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Frieze

December 31, 2008

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The New Yorker

November 24, 2008

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The New York Times

August 24, 2007

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Sculpture

March 31, 2006

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Sculpture

April 30, 2005

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Art in America

November 30, 2004

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V Magazine

December 31, 2001

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The New York Times

August 6, 2000

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The Observer

October 27, 1997

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The New York Times

August 10, 1997

PRESS

The Village Voice

October 9, 1996

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Flash Art

September 30, 1996

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Elle

June 30, 1995

Sculpture Finds a Parking Space on the High Line

Wall Street Journal


By Andy Battaglia

 

Traffic was heavier than usual on the High Line park last week, when the usual pedestrian parade made way for an unusual presence: a car.

 

This one differed from others zipping by on the streets below: hollowed out, its engine removed, pushed by a heaving crew with an artist steering it into position to assume its new role as a sculpture.

 

The automotive art, a Smartcar with tire treads and other embellishments adorning its body, is the work of Nari Ward, a sculptor known for exploring memory and one’s sense of place, often by transforming familiar materials found close to home.

 

For his piece “Smart Tree,” the artist, who emigrated from the Caribbean at age 12, drew on a recollection of an abandoned car in his father’s yard in Jamaica. Raised on cinder blocks for repair work that never got done, the vehicle rusted, and nature took hold: A lime tree sprouted through the floorboards, seeding deterioration with regrowth.

 

On the High Line, the plant life is an apple tree rising out of a Smartcar’s sunroof high above West 23rd Street, where it will remain to be gawked at and puzzled over for a year.

 

But first it had to get there. The journey began last Wednesday, when, after formative work at Mr. Ward’s Harlem studio and a lift from a freight elevator near the High Line’s southernmost end, the car took a spin through throngs of surprised park-goers.

 

“Heads up, we’ve got a car coming through,” said Jordan Benke, production manager for High Line Art, which commissioned the sculpture and helped bring it to life. He added a note for the artist in charge: “Remember, no power steering.”

 

Mr. Ward stood up through the sunroof, his hands on the wheel below. A crew of three pushed from behind, rolling it past an array of park life: a class of children drawing, music from an accordion, a vocal duo busking.

 

Visitors out for a stroll cast approving and quizzical looks.

 

“Brilliant, man!,” cheered John Bloch, a tourist from New Mexico, where Smartcars—much less ones used for art—aren’t a common sight, he said.

 

“Smart Tree” joins a handful of other new artworks on the High Line, including Tony Matelli’s “Sleepwalker,” a startlingly realistic sculpture of a man frozen mid-stride in his underwear, and a large wall painting by Barbara Kruger painted with the words: “Blind idealism is deadly.”

 

After about half an hour, and more than 10 blocks from where they started, Mr. Ward and his crew backed into their spot above West 23rd Street, where the car’s wheels have since been replaced with cinder blocks and its interior filled with soil for the apple tree.

 

“The High Line is this very strange space surrounded by movement, the sense that you’re going somewhere else,” Mr. Ward said of the link between the setting and the automotive subject matter. “You’re not here to spend time as much as to experience this strange amalgamation of stasis and flux.”

 

The tire treads covering the car’s exterior echo that sense of movement. And the tree—along with headlights that flash on at night thanks to solar panels installed in the windshield—evoke a life force at work.

 

“I didn’t want it to rest in the key of a post-apocalyptic narrative,” the 52-year-old artist said. “I wanted a sense of repurposing and hopefulness in it.”

 

Lili Chadefaux, a 10-year-old visiting the High Line from Boston, picked up the sentiment fast. “It’s cool,” she said, “and it’s recycling.”

 

Mr. Ward said “Smart Tree” continues a strain in his art devoted to ideas of resourcefulness common in his native Jamaica and “any so-called Third World country, where folks have to find a way to make do and improvise with what they have. That is something I like to honor in my work.”

 

Other works of the sort include “Mango Tourist,” a 2011 series of hulking sculptures made with fruit-like strips of orange foam, and “Sugar Hill Smiles,” a 2014 project that involved collecting smiles from Harlem residents he had peer into mirrors placed in the bottom of metal cans.

 

In “Smart Tree,” the remembrance of a discarded, deteriorating clunker evolved into a new car that will wither and grow in the elements just the same. Park-goers can watch it happen to the surprising vehicular transplant in the midst of leisurely strolls.

 

“It’s remaking their own experience,” Mr. Ward said, “by remaking that thing they think they know.”