Till, Lit

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Till, Lit

Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present TILL, LIT, Nari Ward’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Ward will debut a series of new work comprised of mixed media paintings, sculptures, and installations. These works examine the ways value is assigned throughout society, with Ward attempting to disrupt existing monetary-based value structures in favor of social enrichment. On the occasion of this exhibition, Ward and Lehmann Maupin will donate a percentage of sales to Housing Works, the New York City-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the dual crisis of homelessness and AIDS. The gallery will host a reception for the artist on Friday, June 2, from 6-8 PM, at 536 West 22nd Street. Ward garnered acclaim early in his career with pieces like Amazing Grace (1993), which he produced while in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Ward created a sculptural installation using hundreds of discarded strollers and recycled fire hoses woven to resemble a ship’s hull as a reference to both the history of the transatlantic slave trade and today’s homeless population. The methodologies implemented in this early work can be found throughout his career, with the artist repurposing found objects and placing them in juxtapositions that highlight their functional purposes, cultural associations, and metaphorical potential. Ward lives and works in close proximity to his subject matter: He chooses media sourced from his local surroundings, delicately inserting his own experience in the work. He contributes to socio-political themes, including identity, race, religion, immigration, patriotism, tourism, and consumer culture, by imbuing his work with historic and personal narrative, while intentionally leaving obscured space for open-ended meaning. The works in this exhibition are organized into two distinct material categories relating to the exhibition’s title the paintings are collectively referred to as TILL, and sculpture and installation works as LIT. The TILL works directly reference commerce. Ward creates these seemingly minimal paintings out of cash register drawers, referred to as tills, surrounded by faint rectangular forms on a background of metallic colors associated with money—gold, copper, and silver. Other large-scale paintings in the series render the pyramid from the back of U.S. $1 bills as a focal point, where the bricks appear to be laid in a frenetic manner that suggests the structure is on the verge of toppling.

Till, Lit

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