The exhibition, Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again, will feature a series of six newly commissioned outdoor artworks that will be created on site and on view April 29 – September 4, 2017. Ward recasts tropes of outdoor structures – the monument, the playground, lawn ornaments, architectural barriers, and the advertising sign – into surreal and playful creations. Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again will examine how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics. This exhibition will also bring new insight into the artist’s exploration of identity, social progress, the urban environment, and group belonging.
G.O.A.T. is an acronym for Greatest of All Time, a phrase commonly used in American sports, made famous by Muhammad Ali, and in hip-hop, most notably, as the title of Queens native LL Cool J’s best-selling album. The title alludes to the African-American experience and political theater – common themes in Ward’s work. The figure of the goat features prominently in Ward’s articulation of social dynamics, conjuring the animal’s attributes and symbolic connotations, from an ambitious climber of great heights to an outcast.
Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again will span Socrates Sculpture Park’s five-acre landscape as the Park’s first presentation of a single artist in its 30-year history.
Ward, who transforms discarded or familiar materials into formal innovations that address society’s most urgent questions, underscores the Park’s mission of integrating contemporary art into daily life and as a space for cultural exchange and transformation.
“By presenting Ward’s outdoor works in an open, public environment like Socrates, we hope to elicit conversation about emotional, economic, and political subjects compelling to a broad spectrum of people,” said John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park. “Public art is often experienced as an individual work, but this constellation of new works, each in dialogue with one another, allows the public to participate in a single artist’s vision.”
“Amidst current national and global debates regarding immigration and race, and set in the context of the most diverse county in the United States – Queens, New York – Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again will contribute to the dialogue surrounding our increasingly stratified society,” said Jess Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions at Socrates.
Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again is organized by Socrates Sculpture Park and curated by Jess Wilcox, Director of Exhibitions. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Lambent Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, with additional support provided by Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Les Moulins, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Spacetime, C.C. The exhibition is also supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC 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.