Melvin Edwards, Texcali, 1965, Welded steel 19.8h x 15.3w x 8.5d in (50.29h x 38.86w x 21.59d cm) Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. © Melvin Edwards/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Join us for a conversation with artist Melvin Edwards in dialogue with Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum.
In conjunction with the exhibition “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” the New Museum is honored to host this series of artist conversations highlighting the myriad practices of artists participating in this exhibition.
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Melvin Edwards (b. 1937, Houston, Texas) is a pioneer in the history of contemporary American art and sculpture. Edwards’s practice reflects his engagement with histories of race, labor, and violence, as well as with themes of the African diaspora. His sculptures range from painted steel to barbed wire installations to welded amalgamations of agricultural and industrial elements. Edwards remains known for his series of Lynch Fragments, welded combinations of disparate objects that invite competing narratives of oppression and creation.
Edwards’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. In 1993, the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY organized Melvin Edwards Sculpture: A Thirty-Year Retrospective 1963–1993. In 2015, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX presented a second retrospective, Melvin Edwards: Five Decades. This exhibition traveled to the Zimmerli Museum of Art, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, and the Columbus Museum of Art, OH. Other recent solo exhibitions include Melvin Edwards: Festivals, Funerals, and New Life, Brown University, Providence, RI (2017); Melvin Edwards: Lynch Fragments, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), Brazil (2018); and Melvin Edwards: Crossroads, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2019), which traveled to Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA (2020). Edwards’s work has also been featured in innumerable group exhibitions, including Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2017), traveled to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK (2018), Brooklyn Museum, NY (2018), The Broad, Los Angeles, CA (2019), de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA (2019), and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (2020); Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic 1945–1965, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2016); All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, Brooklyn Museum, NY (2014); Blues for Smoke, The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012), traveled to Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2013); Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960–1980, MoMA PS1, Queens, NY (2012); and African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2011), traveled to Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2012). Edwards’s work is represented in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Houston, TX; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others. Edwards taught at Rutgers University from 1972 to 2002. In 2014, he received an honorary doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.
NOTE: This program, which was originally scheduled for March 2, will now occur on Tuesday, May 11 at 5 PM EDT.
Lead support for “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” is provided by the Ford Foundation.
Major support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Agnes Gund.
New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.
Generous ongoing support is provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.
Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City 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.
Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.
Support of artist participation is provided by Laura Skoler.
Additional support for education and community programs is provided by the American Chai Trust.
A full list of support for “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” can be viewed here.
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