My name is Gary Carrion-Murayari, I’m the Krauss family curator at the New Museum and I’m one of the co-curators of Nari Ward: We the People. We the People is the first New York survey exhibition for the Harlem-based artist, Nari Ward. Ward was born in Jamaica, but his family moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. He first grew up first in Brooklyn and then in New Jersey, and went to art school at Hunter College and Brooklyn College. During art school, he moved to Harlem and has lived and worked there ever since. This exhibition brings together work from across the past 25 years of his career. During that time, he has become one of the most critically admired sculptors in American and around the world. Ward produces his sculptures by gathering together a variety of very simple, humble materials that the finds both inside architectural spaces and outside on the streets. He transforms these materials into a seemingly endless variety of forms—some of which resemble objects from everyday life and others which create new, immersive fantastic environments. Ward often selects discarded objects that have a strong sense of the emotional lives of the strangers who used them, and in particular his work has been heavily inspired by the history and inhabitants of Harlem, even as the neighborhood has undergone drastic changes over the past twenty five years. Ward has also used his art as a way to explore issues of identity, belonging, migration, and displacement, and the ways in which these topics are crucial for understanding his local community and America as a whole.
Audio guide: “Nari Ward: We the People,” New Museum, New York, 2019.