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Nari Ward

PRESS

Museum Magazine

August 31, 2017

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Artnet

May 18, 2017

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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

News

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

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Mousse Magazine Nari Ward interviewed by Anna Daneri

April 2013

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

February 14, 2013

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The New York Times

February 14, 2013

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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

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The Village Voice

October 9, 1996

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Flash Art

September 30, 1996

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Elle

June 30, 1995

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

The Philadelphia Inquirer


When Jamaica-born Nari Ward, 53, was preparing for a large 2011 exhibition at Mass MoCA, the contemporary art museum in North Adams, Mass., he took a look around and knew exactly what he needed.

 

Snowmen tourists. Obviously.

 

It was a case of art speaking to the new economics of western Massachusetts, a place once known for making things, but now importing art-making to attract traveling consumers.

 

Mango Tourist, his gaggle of eight seared-foam, capacitor-bedecked, mango-seed-studded, 10-foot-tall figures was born, a wry reflection on the shared lives of the Berkshire hills and sunburned Jamaica.

 

"It's about energy, energy that's autonomous," the soft-spoken Ward said the other day as three tourists were being pried from crates in preparation for exhibition at the Barnes Foundation.

 

"Nari Ward: Sun Splashed," a mid-career retrospective that began at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, opens at the Barnes on Friday for a run through Aug. 22.

 

The exhibition contains more than two dozen pieces, many assembled from street detritus, but also including photographs and even participatory drawings.

 

Naturalization Drawing Table (2004) will give willing visitors a taste of the immigration process by asking them to show identification and be photographed. Their completed applications will become part of the exhibition.

 

Ward is keenly interested in the structures of power and bureaucracy that shape and sap daily life.

 

"At Mass MoCA, I was making a comparison in that body of work between Jamaica as this kind of tourist economy that needs support from the outside to function, this dependent state that it becomes," Ward continued, "and North Adams, Mass., where Mass MoCA and the arts really became the engine for revitalizing that community. . . ."

 

"The reason it's called Mango Tourist is this idea of the tourist as a kind of driving force, but not necessarily a force that's specific to the region. It's something that's necessary, but not indigenous to the area."

 

Ward, who has lived in an old firehouse on 141st Street in Harlem for more than 25 years, is well-known as an assembler, a scavenger, a master of urban bricolage and ironic paradox.

 

Mango Tourist is the pudding's proof.

 

He knew that the Mass MoCA complex is located in the old Sprague Electronics factory complex, where paper capacitors were invented and radios and electronic components were made for three-quarters of a century. The company closed in the early 1990s, but Sprague resistors and capacitors and batteries overflow storage bins - analog relics in a digital age.

 

Ward scooped up thousands for his tourists.

 

Mango seeds, the potent center of what is now the world's most popular fruit, usually end up in the trash.

 

"A lot of people don't know. They say, 'Did you eat all those mangos?' " said Ward. "No. I actually found a mango lobby. Every food source has a lobby to make sure that they get supported. So the International Mango Board was able to furnish me with as many mango seeds as I needed. Thank God for that."

 

The foam for his tourists came from thrift stores. He bought old mattress foam on the cheap, and the first time he took a torch to it for sealing and searing, the foam exploded into flame.

 

"It was like fuel!" he said. "People are sleeping on gasoline!"

 

After that, Ward made sure to pick up only fire-resistant foam.

 

The seeds are contained within the folds of the foam, and the capacitors and resistors cover the surface like jewelry. They become comic figures with a point.

 

Indeed, much of Ward's work contains very pointed humor.

 

Glory is his 2004 take on tanning beds. It's constructed of old oil drums.

 

"It works," he said. "If you lay there, in theory, it can tan the American flag on your body."

 

Glory also has an audio component - a recording that Ward found while visiting Philadelphian Kippy Stroud's Kamp Kippy in Maine one summer.

 

Ward and his family stayed in a house where there must have been a parrot at some point. His children found a CD in a player - How to Teach Your Parrot English. Ward snatched it.

 

So now Glory resonates with "Bad Bird! Bad Bird! Bad Bird!" as well as parrot renderings of "Dixie" and "The Star Spangled Banner."

 

"It's ideal," Ward said, chuckling. "And it made sense."

 

Virtually anything can find its way into a Nari Ward sculpture - tires, baby strollers, shopping carts, parachute parts, neon signs, burned wooden baseball bats, battered oven pans, shoelaces, megaphones.

 

He's always on the lookout on the street. You never know.

 

"It's to a fault sometimes," he said. "Like now, the good thing about having a firehouse [as a home], my basement is the full run of the building. It's a 90-foot basement. It's a lot of space. But now I'm in a situation, let me put it this way, whenever I see the reality show Hoarders, I get a little nervous because I am one step away from that."

 

"But I can always say it's art."