new york city’s new museum presents ‘nari ward: we the people,’ an exhibition featuring over thirty works spanning the artist’s twenty-five year career. the pieces include sculptures, paintings, videos, and large-scale installations which serve to highlight ward’s status among the most important and influential contemporary sculptors.


since the early 1990s, the new york based artist has produced his works with a collection of found materials repurposed in unexpected ways. his approach is expressive of the folk traditions of jamaica, his birthplace, and the materiality of harlem, where he has lived and worked for over two decades.

new museum nari ward
‘nari ward: we the people,’ 2019 / exhibition view: new museum, new york
all images by maris hutchinson / EPW studio



the new museum’s ‘nari ward: we the people’ highlights the ongoing influence of new york city to nari ward’s work. many of his early sculptures are an assemblage of scavenged scrap objects, found from the buildings and streets of harlem. such items as baby strollers, fire hoses, baseball bats, cooking trays, bottles, and shopping carts were selected as representations of the individual lives and stories of the neighborhood. included in the exhibition are a number of these early works, including the large-scale 1993 environments, ‘amazing grace’ and ‘hunger cradle,’ which ward fabricated and displayed in a derelict firehouse.

new museum nari ward



ward’s most recent work serves to directly address the complex political and social realities which resonate both locally and nationally. ward reflects on the profound changes brought to harlem through gentrification along with the continuous fracturing of the state of democracy in the US. the artist makes use of language, architecture, and sculpture as mediums for reflection on racism and power, migration and national identity, and the layered history that comprises a sense of community. 

new museum nari ward



‘nari ward: we the people’ organizes a retrospective of ward’s iconic early pieces alongside several works that had not been seen in new york since they were originally created. the exhibition demonstrates ward’s role as a generational bridge between american sculptors and a vital advocate for the capacity of art to address the most urgent contemporary issues.

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exhibition information:


exhibition title: ‘nari ward: we the people’

location: the new museum, new york city

curators: gary carrion-murayari, kraus family curator; massimiliano gioni, edlis neeson artistic director; helga christoffersen, associate curator

duration: february 13th 2019 — may 26th 2019