Thursday 05/09/19 7PM
New Museum TheaterVisit Us
Conversations · Exhibition-Related

Alchemy: Found Material in Contemporary African-American Art

Cover Image:

Nari Ward, Amazing Grace, 1993. Installation view: “1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” New Museum, New York, 2013. Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

Nari Ward is known for transforming everyday objects, often gathered from the environment around his studio, to produce his site-specific installations. Ward’s selection of objects or materials—baby strollers, fire hoses, baseball bats, cooking trays, bottles, and shopping carts—is rooted in their connections to individual lives and shared stories. “I am excited about an object’s transformation,” says Ward. “What it means, its historical resonance in a contemporary art dialogue, its significance within the community . . . it is a type of alchemy.”

This panel discussion takes its cues from Ward’s use of found objects, as seen in his New Museum survey “We the People.” Featuring an intergenerational group of artists, including Willie Cole, Abigail DeVille, and Shinique Smith, the conversation will touch on the uses of found and repurposed objects, clothing, sound, photography, and other materials. Together with moderator Andrianna Campbell, the artists will consider how these materials speak to themes of culture, identity, and history within African-American contemporary art.


This program is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Education and community programs are supported, in part, by the American Chai Trust.

Support for “Nari Ward: We the People” can be viewed here.

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