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Nari Ward

PRESS

Museum Magazine

August 31, 2017

PRESS

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

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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

News

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

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

December 4 2015

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Book Signing with Nari Ward Pérez Art Museum Miami

December 3 2015

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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

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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

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25 Most Collectable Midcareer Artists: Nari Ward Artnet

September 30 2015

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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

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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

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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

Forbes


In the Studio: Nari Ward, Part III
By Courtney Willis Blair

 

Dramatic, sculptural installations that transform collected mundane materials into works examining race, poverty, consumer culture, and materiality have become synonymous with the Jamaican-born, Uptown-based Nari Ward’s practice. His exhibition currently on view at SCAD will be followed by a major survey at Perez Art Museum Miami later this year (the exhibition, Sun Splashed, received a grant of $100,000 from The Andy Warhol Foundation back in February) and comes off the heals at his solo exhibition at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art last year.


Other highlights? His MASS MoCA show and his inclusion in the 2006 Whitney Biennale, Prospect 1, and Documenta XI. Not to mention his laundry list of awards, including the Rome Prize and an NEA award. There’s no question why my interview with Ward lasted for more than an hour.


In this last iteration, we hear from Ward on his new work, his time at the “strange” Deitch Projects, and his experience with his current gallery, Lehmann Maupin.


Again, this interview has been edited for clarity and flow.

Can we talk about this work? [Editor’s note: Behind Nari in the studio is a set of shovels about 4 or 5-feet tall leaning against the wall with their blades up and handles on the ground.]


Yeah, you’re getting a sense of how things operate in here. So, the snow has been going on all this time, and there’s a school across the street. I’m going out and I see that they threw away these five shovels. I go and pull them out and realize why they’re throwing them away. They’re sort of beaten up and old, but somehow the fact that I found them and the fact that there is the storm, there’s something here. I drag them in here, and I start just going around putting them up. And I like the way they started to have this conversation with the wall, this white wall. They’re evolving. There’s still more that needs to be done, but something’s starting to happen. They start to become less shovels and more spears. There are all these layers that start to evolve from this one gesture of seeing them just being discarded. I also like that I can have a conversation with [Marcel] Duchamp, his Broken Arm piece. So I’m like cool, there’s enough energy and voice that’s going on. Now, I just need to figure out what I want from it. I literally just picked them up out of here three, four days ago so I’m still figure out where it’s going to go.


There’s something about the rust.

Yeah, it’s strangely unexpected because there’s this element of newness. They still have the label on. They’re kind of semi-shiny. And then there is this kind of old, tarnished component, battered. It’s too weird to not look at and think about.


This is an interesting about trash and that space with objects where one day they’re not trash and the next day they are, so what happens in that space to bring it there.


For me all this is very specific to First World expectations, because in any other sort of Third World country, hammers are straightened out and reused. I also feel like there is an element of getting back to the sense of something not intended to be fixed, not intended to be repurposed. I blame it on the digital era (laughs)! For me, there’s a strange collision of circumstance. From the strange I can develop some ideas. I think that’s one of the really interesting issues about how things get chosen. There’s a kind of strange moment the context created. This context is making me think about this one thing. What else can it do, too? How can I preserve that or how can I shape that or how can I make that to have all those possible strange things happen to it.


The Liquorsoul sculpture.


I realized that if I turn the [liquor] sign upside down, the word S-O-U-L is in “liquors.” These works are about appropriating signs that are already there. This one, nobody ever does a neon sign that’s a sculpture, something in the round. If I stacked the letters, you have to walk around it to figure out what it says. I want it to be something you have to find.

Where does this fit in the body of work?


This is the last one. It’s sort of the culmination of the series. I thought it was a little bit of urban archaeology. A lot of the signs, the store is no longer there so people have forgotten about them. The landlord didn’t even notice it. They don’t work, so they’re just there.

Yeah, now you’ll see business or restaurants reusing the same or leftover signage…

Right, or covering them up. The smaller ones are harder to find. The bigger ones are easy because no one wants to take them, so they just leave them there. When they’re small, it’s easy for someone to take them off, so they’re very rare. This one is interesting. A friend gave me this one. He just took the letters, so I had to revamp it.

And then you have to re-wire or re-program all the bulbs?


Yeah, then I have to get someone to help me with all the other stuff. It’s fun. I had this one guy; I’ll never work with him again. That’s why I say it’s a culmination. You know, I do this thing where I love to work with the folks in the neighborhood. Folks come in here with their knowledge, ringing the bell from time to time, helping me with stuff. There’s one guy, he’s a local neon guy, really good actually. He’s a master, but he’s so unreliable. He would say he’s coming and then not come through. The whole neighborhood thing, I always have a soft spot for them, like I like to be abused or something. “Oh, I understand.” It always feels like another place. It’s something you’d expect in Jamaica. “Oh, I know a guy like this. He just shows up when he shows up.” There’s a term they have in Jamaica: soon-come. “Yea man, me soon come. I’ll soon be there.”


I’m trying to remember where I first learned of your practice. You realize sometimes that you know about an artist and their practice without remembering being taught it.


It’s funny you said that because Diana [Nawi], the curator of the Pérez show, said that. She said every time she shows that work, people are happy to see it and they’ve known it. It also deals with being in a gallery for the first 14 years that was strange. Deitch Projects is a strange gallery.

It was very strange. I think they did an excellent job, and I think…

Jeffrey’s got a great eye.

It was a strange moment for the New York gallery scene, what that meant to have a space and program and gallery like that in Soho.

His mandate was very interesting that it wasn’t about sales. It was about brand. It was really about Deitch’s brand. He didn’t care if it sold. He just wanted it to be ambitious and strong and a statement. That’s rare.

That’s very rare, especially for a for-profit space.


I remember doing these amazing projects. I was really proud of them. And then going to him after the show comes down and saying, “Jeffrey, what happened? You didn’t sell anything.” But you know what, he would buy the work. He owns a good amount of work. It’s great endorsement, bad career move.

How long have you been with Lehmann Maupin?

I think this is the sixth year. Prospect 1, that’s when they approached me around that time. It’s been good. It’s a little bit of figuring it out. It’s a new thing for them to bring an artist like myself and me for being in such a corporate-minded gallery, but they’re trying to learn and I’m trying to learn. They’re good folks. It’s all about the wall. I thought it was really great that they brought Kader [Attia] in. I’m really excited about that. They have Erwin Wurm. I’m really excited about that. I think he’s a really great artist, a really interesting artist. But there’s definitely a priority toward the wall space.

Well, now you have something for the wall.

Part I, Part II