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Album

© Nari Ward. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Album

Artist: Nari Ward (Jamaican, born 1963)
Culture: American
Date: 2011
Medium: Stencil ink, basketball trading cards, glue, and aluminum
Dimensions:
50 x 50 inches (127 x 127 cm)
Classification: Mixed Media
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Marjorie (P’16, P’19, P’19) and Michael Levine (B.S.’84, P’16, P’19, P’19)
Label Text:Nari Ward creates mixed media works from everyday found objects to investigate issues surrounding race, poverty, and consumer culture, particularly in black communities. In Album, Ward uses basketball trading cards to draw a connection between sports, entertainment, and African American culture. The players have been blacked out, leaving only the balls on each card exposed, floating like celestial stars in the night sky. The word “bebop” embossed around the outer rim of the work refers to the fast tempo style of jazz made popular by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, which is improvisational like the game of basketball. “Bebop,” when read aloud, has an almost onomatopoeia-like association with a ball bouncing. The round shape brings to mind a vinyl record, a protective shield, or even a divination tray, used in Yoruba cosmology in West Africa. All of this lends itself to a reading of music and sports as “religions” that help us make sense of our place in the world.
Object number: 2011.16.1