This is the last weekend to see “Nari Ward: We the People,” the first museum survey of the Jamaican-born installation artist. His works fill three floors of the museum, including sculptures, videos, paintings, and repurposed found objects that bring together his ancestral heritage and his longtime home base of Harlem. “Hunger Cradle” is an ever-evolving site-specific web of rope and string from which objects are suspended. “T. P. Reign Bow” features a blue police tower guarded by a fox with an afro tail (named Cornel after Dr. Cornel West). “Amazing Grace” is a room of 365 discarded strollers tied together while a recording of Mahalia Jackson singing the spiritual song repeats.
“Iron Heavens” is a construction made of burned wooden baseball bats and wooden cooking sheets, evoking slavery and the diaspora. “We the People” spells out those constitutional words in shoelaces. “Exodus” recalls slavery, migration, and the current refugee crisis, while “Naturalization Drawing Table” explores the US immigration process. “Spellbound” is a piano covered with keys, a video playing on the back. “Glory” is a unique kind of casket for America.
The exhibition also includes such other works as “Carpet Angel,” “Savior,” “Homeland Sweet Homeland,” “Geography: Bottle Messenger,” and “Crusader,” each well worth delving into in detail as Ward takes stock of where we’ve been, and where we are today.