Artworks

G.O.A.T.s, 2017Concrete, sand, fiberglass, pigment, rebar and mixed media32 × 10 × 72 inches each
Image credit: Nari Ward, G.O.A.T.S, 2017 by Nicholas Knight Studio.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

Cast from a lawn ornament and situated throughout the park both in groups and as solitary individuals, this flock of goats manifests the show’s title. The sculptures pun on the acronym for Greatest of All Time, frequently used for athletes and musicians, from Muhammad Ali to L.L. Cool J. They carry on their backs tangled piles of material goods ranging from telephone wires and copper sheaths to fire hose and tarred feathers.

Bipartition Bell, 2017Steel, wood, copper, goat bells11 × 3 × 14 feet
Image credit: Nari Ward, Bipartition Bell, 2017.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

Bipartition Bell plays with monumentality, virility, and illusion. Hanging from a resilient steel I-beam frame, the bell’s cup structure is large enough for visitors to duck under and introduce their head and torso into its interior. Inside are three small goat bells for ringing. The outer bell’s copper-clad exterior protrudes on opposites sides, appearing bifurcated, in the shape of a billy goat’s gonads. Belying the grandeur and patina of the copper, the petite inner bell undermines the exterior appearance of grandness.

Apollo / Poll, 2017Steel, wood, vinyl, LED lights12 × 4 × 30 feet
Image credit: Nari Ward, Appolo/Poll, 2017 by Nicholas Knight Studio.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

This towering sign reads ‘POLL’, surrounded by the letters ‘A’ and ‘O’ blinking on and off to intermittently spell out “APOLLO”.  The size and font of the red LED-lit letters are inspired by those of the iconic neon beacon hanging over Harlem’s Apollo Theater, a renowned venue for African American entertainers. The word ‘POLL’ suggests not only the theater’s well-known amateur night in which the audience decides the winner, but also the democratic election process. Apollo / Poll reflects on the enterprise and art of self-promotion, originality, and the meaning of consensus.

Scapegoat, 2017Steel, wood, concrete, tire tread, fire hose40 × 12 × 12 feet
Image credit: Nari Ward, Scapegoat, 2017 by Matthew Herrmann.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

With a colossal faux-stone head that recalls the enormous busts of historical figures, this forty-foot long hobby goat toy can be understood as satire of masculinity and the monument. Here Ward infantilizes the impulse towards the mammoth by adding handle bars to its head and a precarious wheel of rusted steel and used tire. Its title invoking those shamed and blamed by a group, Scapegoat addresses communal values and modes of inclusion and exclusion.

Shun-Light, 2017Steel, wood, glass bottles, tar, aluminum paint, plastic wrap, foam, and lights11 × 11 × 14 feet
Image credit: Nari Ward, Shun-Light, 2017 by Nicholas Knight Studio.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

Enclosed within the structure, visible only through vertical louvered slats, hangs a bulbous tangle of glossy black skeins punctured with lights–a hidden chandelier. Adopting the materials of visual and spatial partition used around construction sites, the piece calls forth the social and psychic barriers that emerge in the urban field. Transforming discarded consumer goods into a source of light and symbol of luxury, the piece simultaneously beckons in and denies access.

King: finish line, jump rope, 2017Vinyl10 × 28 feet
Image credit: Nari Ward, King: finish line, jump rope, 2017.
Courtesy the artist; Socrates Sculpture Park; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana.

Note – King: finish line, jump rope was on view through July 4, 2017.

Hovering in an undefined space, this incongruous jump rope complicates its potential use in playground games or for agility training. The ‘King’ that it’s imprinted handles refers to is ambiguous. Elvis? Martin Luther King Jr? Or another male monarch yet to come? Yet its fusion of weight and movement evoke the great Muhammad Ali who famously bragged that he was ‘king of the world.’

Exhibition

Apr 29 – Sep 4, 2017 Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., againNari Ward