Book review: Nari Ward, Sun Splashed

This mid-career retrospective of Nari Ward accompanies an exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum, Miami. Sun Splashed is the largest exhibition of Ward’s work to date and the publication is correspondingly rich. Both the book and the exhibition are organised thematically rather than chronologically, allowing them to effectively engage with issues central to Ward’s practice.

The book opens with an essay by curator Diana Nawi, a thoughtful – and thought-provoking – introduction to Ward’s life and work. She considers Ward’s fascination with found objects and the meanings attached to them, with the importance of site and place, and the role of labour and process in shaping outcomes. Alongside further essays by Erica Moiah James, Ralph Lemon and Naomi Beckwith, the book also includes a conversation between Nari Ward and Philippe Vergne. The conversation explores much of Ward’s back catalogue, with a particular focus on the role of contradiction — hence its apt title, ‘It’s OK to Disagree.’

If a trip to Miami to see Sun Splashed is off the cards, this critically aware, beautifully produced book provides an excellent substitute.

Originally published in Aesthetica.

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