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An event every week that begins at 12:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, repeating until Monday, November 30, 2020
This fall, The Contemporary Dayton is pleased to present Nari Ward’s work, We The People. With this nearly 60-foot-wide wall installation, which consists of thousands of shoelaces that hang fringe-like from the gallery wall, Ward recreates the words that start the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, replicating the font and style of the Constitution’s main scribe, Timothy Matlack. In pairing the most quotidian of materials with one of our country’s most lofty and enduring ideas, Ward seeks to explore how this living document remains vital as Americans prepare to participate in one of the most crucial elections of our lifetime.
Additionally, The Co will collaborate with the League of Women Voters in the Greater Dayton Area, by turning the gallery into a voter registration center and delivering every newly registered voter’s documents to the Montgomery County Board of Elections on a daily basis. Registration will include the ability to receive mail-in ballots.
The work itself will be scaled so large that it can be experienced from the street outside The Co as well as in its full glory from inside the gallery. Furthermore, the work will remain lit every night during the exhibition, a beacon to the deep and enduring ideas that it signifies. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color publication with an interview with the artist and an explanation of the installation process. During the exhibition, The Co’s website will feature a virtual showroom which will contain images, essays, interviews, and videos that further explore Nari Ward’s work and ideas.
For nearly 30 years of an internationally recognized career, Nari Ward’s practice has centered on the accumulation of overwhelming amounts of modest, everyday items, repurposing them in consistently astonishing ways. His methods emanate from a variety of folk traditions from Jamaica, his birthplace, that are centered on the recycling of non-traditional art materials as well as found materials from Harlem, where he has lived and worked for the past 25 years. More importantly though, Ward has drawn many of his ideas from research into specific histories and places, often revisiting the ideas and struggles of immigration and displacement as an American tradition. In this endeavor, Ward’s work makes viewers aware of commonalities that link geographically and culturally disparate communities providing insight into the strains between tradition and transformation.
Ward’s career has seen exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, and The Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL. His career retrospective opened at The New Museum, NY in February 2019 and has since traveled to The Contemporary Arts Center, Houston, TX, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO.