Lehmann Maupin has announced Nari Ward's inclusion in the New Museum's forthcoming exhibition NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. The exhibition was conceived as a time capsule that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics. While NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star will open in its entirety on 13 February 2013, Nari Ward's "Amazing Grace" is currently on view in the museum's Studio 231 space through 21 April 2013.
First exhibited in 1993 in an abandoned fire station on 141st Street, "Amazing Grace" is composed of more than three hundred abandoned baby strollers collected by Ward off the streets of Harlem. Arranged alongside strips of fire hose in the shape of a ship's hull, the installation is accompanied by an audio recording of Mahalia Jackson's performance of 'Amazing Grace', playing on a loop. Ward was inspired by his subject matter after observing a stray stroller amid rush hour traffic at the 125th Street Metro North station. The emptiness of the lone stroller so affected Ward that he sought to heighten the sadness he associated with it by grouping hundreds of found strollers together to form a social commentary on the evolution of this hard-hit neighborhood.
In a recent profile on Ward in the Wall Street Journal, New Museum curator Gary Carrion-Murayari is quoted as saying, "This neighborhood has changed and Harlem has obviously changed radically, and Nari was watching it happen. The work does make sense in neighborhoods where there is social transformation happening, for better and for worse."
Since the first exhibition in 1993, "Amazing Grace" has been presented six additional times throughout the world, including Athens, Paris, and Turin. "Amazing Grace" currently resides in the private art collection of Dakis Joannou. Ward's relationship with the New Museum began twenty years ago when, in 1993, the Museum presented the artist's first major solo museum exhibition in its former space in SoHo.