401 Carpet Angel
Nari Ward created Carpet Angel for his first solo museum exhibition which took place at the old New Museum building on Broadway in 1993. This presentation is the first time the work has been shown since that exhibition twenty five years ago and captures the material and social history of the early 90s Harlem, where Ward had recently moved. Ward was not yet 30 years old when he produced the work and he used scraps of carpet he found in his studio, along with plastic bottles and garbage bags. Like other early works on view on the 2nd floor, there are strong religious overtones to Carpet Angel, both in the title and the form of the sculpture, which resembles a winged angel rising from a pile of flaming debris. Carpet Angel also is characteristic of Ward’s ability to transform simple materials, through labor intensive processes. Ward described his interest in discarded materials in an artist statement written at the time of his previous New Museum show. He stated: “It is the energy and texture that is acquired through use that is of inters tot me; their mutability, the history that they have gleaned through consumption; worn and discarded materials often found on the street are worked, knotted, drilled, iron or wrung out to become charged with a devotional function and meaning.”
Audio guide: “Nari Ward: We the People,” New Museum, New York, 2019.