Nari Ward, Sky Juice, 1993. Umbrella, iron fence, cement, textiles, plastic soda bottles, photographs, Tropical Fantasy soda, and sugar, 106 x 72 x 95 in.

Nari Ward


Pérez Art Museum Miami

“Sun Splashed,” Nari Ward’s recent retrospective, employed penetrating humor and quotidian materials to recalibrate views about race, culture, and faith. The opening themes included immigration, social justice, the urban milieu, and citizenship. Amid the sounds of moving wheels accompanied by Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark was the Night,” Land (2002–14), a rootless tree made of a small wheel wrapped onto a cylindrical metal base, evokes the migrant experience of mobility and change. Rock, Booked, Scissor, Vice (2010) repositions a reference book, Black’s Law Dictionary, in relation to the children’s game of rock-paper-scissors. Instead of going after each other, the rock, paper, and scissors, plus a metal vice, all “attack” the dictionary, suggesting that the law and its definitions are not equal for everyone. Happy Smilers: Duty Free Shopping (1996) opens with a bright yellow awning strung with dangling bottles of Tropical Fantasy soda.…see the entire review in the print version of September’s Sculpture magazine.