Conversations with Melvin Edwards
Nasher Sculpture Center
Image rights: The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of the artist
"A Constellation" (November 12, 2015–March 6, 2016) Venue: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Organized by Amanda Hunt, Assistant Curator
A pioneering sculptor fusing political engagement with abstraction, Melvin Edwards draws inspiration from his African heritage, while referencing modernist steel sculpture. He welds industrial found objects, such as hammer heads, scissors, locks, chains, and railroad splices, into new, dense forms that allude to the brutality of the African American experience. His best known series “Lynch Fragment” is an ongoing project on which he has worked, variously, in response to racial violence (1963-67); as a form of activism against the Vietnam War (1973-74); and as a reconceived means of recognizing admirable individuals and exploring a personal fascination with African culture (1978-). The sculptures, measuring approximately 12-18 inches, typically hang at eye level in an unbroken line across the gallery walls, provoking thoughts and associations of violence, humor, and hope.
American, b. 1937, Houston, Texas, based in New York, New York