#56: Power, Purpose and Privilege with Artists Nari Ward and Derrick Adams


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“As an artist I feel like it’s my role to bring that moment of history—that moment of doubt, frustration, of fear—into the present,” says Nari Ward in conversation with fellow artist Derrick Adams on this episode of In Other Words.

Ward is the subject of a major retrospective at the New Museum (“Nari Ward: We The People” until 26 May)—which spans 25 years of his work and has been heralded as “persistent and liberating” by The New York Times. The sculptor—who has been called an accumulation artist for his often large-scale work involving discarded material—has lived and worked in Harlem since the beginning of his career and uses the neighborhood as source and inspiration.

Art is the perfect medium for exploring such complicated subjects as gentrification, power and the AIDS crisis, Ward says: “It should challenge, consume, maybe even disrupt—and then it should also figure out, because it is art. It is artifice. It is a safe space to consider those different moments.”Adams is the subject of two concurrent exhibitions on show in New York right now (“Derrick Adams: Interior Life” at Luxembourg & Dayan and “Derrick Adams: New Icons” at Mary Boone Gallery). “I thought that successful art was about penetrating the world with images that you want people to see,” he says to host Charlotte Burns. “I want to give viewers other options of looking at black American culture”, he says, especially the normalcy of “what people were doing as a break.”

Together, Ward and Adams discuss all the big stuff: from God and spirituality in art, to the power and purpose of making art. They talk real estate and repression, and discuss the power of imagination and moral compassion.

Tune in to In Other Words today for this and much more.



“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.

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