Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again
April 29, 2017 – September 4, 2017
Opening: June 3, 2017 (11:00 am – 3:00 pm)
Artists: Nari Ward
Socrates Sculpture Park is pleased to present New York’s first institutional solo exhibition of Nari Ward (b. Jamaica; lives in New York). The exhibition, Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again, will feature a series of six newly commissioned outdoor artworks that will be created on site and on view April 29 – September 4, 2017.
Ward recasts tropes of outdoor structures – the monument, the playground, lawn ornaments, architectural barriers, and the advertising sign – into surreal and playful creations. Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again will examine how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics. This exhibition will also bring new insight into the artist’s exploration of identity, social progress, the urban environment, and group belonging.
G.O.A.T. is an acronym for Greatest of All Time, a phrase commonly used in American sports, made famous by Muhammad Ali, and in hip-hop, most notably, as the title of Queens native LL Cool J’s best-selling album. The title alludes to the African-American experience and political theater – common themes in Ward’s work. The figure of the goat features prominently in Ward’s articulation of social dynamics, conjuring the animal’s attributes and symbolic connotations, from an ambitious climber of great heights to an outcast.
Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again will span Socrates Sculpture Park’s five-acre landscape as the Park’s first presentation of a single artist in its 30-year history. Ward, who transforms discarded or familiar materials into formal innovations that address society’s most urgent questions, underscores the Park’s mission of integrating contemporary art into daily life and as a space for cultural exchange and transformation.
Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again is organized by Socrates Sculpture Park and curated by Jess Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Lambent Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, with additional support provided by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Spacetime, C.C. The exhibition is also supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
CONCURRENT NARI WARD EXHIBITION
On April 26, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston opens Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, the most significant exhibition of the artist’s work to date. Sun Splashed includes artworks made from soda pop bottles, shoelaces, shopping carts, and a fire escape—materials that speak to the artist’s distinctive experimentation and resonate with social, political, and cultural meaning. The exhibition focuses on vital points of reference for Ward including his native Jamaica, citizenship and migration, and African-American history and culture, to explore the dynamics of power and politics in society. Sun Splashed is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami Associate Curator Diana Nawi. The Boston presentation, on view through September 4, is coordinated by Ruth Erickson, ICA Associate Curator, with Jessica Hong, Curatorial Associate.
Katie Denny Horowitz