June 24–August 22, 2016

Press preview: Tuesday, June 21


twitter iconTweet this: The #BarnesFoundation presents Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, opening June 24


Philadelphia, PA, March 8, 2016—The Barnes Foundation presents Sun Splashed, a mid-career survey of the found-object assemblage art of Nari Ward, on view in the Roberts Gallery June 24 through August 22, 2016.

Sun Splashed is the most significant exhibition of Ward's work to date, bringing together over 30 works from 1990s to the present. The exhibition offers a close look at the artist's ongoing investigations, both material and intellectual, that have guided his practice for more than 20 years. Traveling from Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), where it was organized by Associate Curator Diana Nawi, the exhibition reveals the ambitious scale of Ward's work and his continued experimentation with new materials.

Animated by flânerie (the artistic leisurely strolling, window-shopping, and people-watching of the bohemian artist/poet) that was an important strategy of the French impressionists, and making reference to African tribal art, Ward's oeuvre resonates with the Barnes collection and speaks with penetrating insight and imagination to a broad range of subjects, including black history and culture, the dynamics of power and politics, and Caribbean diaspora identity.

“Presenting Sun Splashed at the Barnes Foundation opens up a fascinating dialogue between the ground-breaking work of Nari Ward and the Barnes collection,” said Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation. “The Barnes is not only home to world-renowned impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings, but also an incredible collection of African sculptures, masks and tools—125 in total. With the content of the collection, the context it provides, and Dr. Barnes's history of supporting African American culture and the Harlem Renaissance, there are many interesting connections to explore through the contemporary lens of the show.”

Emerging alongside a notable group of artists who rose to prominence in New York in the 1990s, Ward has expanded contemporary definitions of installation and assemblage with his massive, tactile approach to art. His deft use of materials gathered in and around urban neighborhoods imbues his work with a visceral relationship to the real world, allowing him to challenge viewers' perceptions of familiar objects and experiences. Ward's innovative approach has earned him numerous prestigious awards, including the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

“I'm delighted to share this exhibition with Philadelphia's many audiences and to see my work in conversation with the Barnes's spectacular collection,” said Ward.

Nari Ward: Sun Splashed is is organized by Pérez Art Museum Miami Associate Curator Diana Nawi.

The presentation of Nari Ward: Sun Splashed at the Barnes Foundation is sponsored by

Comcast NBCUniversal


The exhibition is made possible by the generosity of individual contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided by the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund.

Organization of Nari Ward: Sun Splashed and its presentation at the Pérez Art Museum Miami have been made possible by Citi and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with additional support from the Funding Arts Network. Valuable support for the exhibition catalogue was provided by Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, and Havana; and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Additional in-kind support provided by Gander & White.

Nari Ward (b. 1963, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica) received a BA from Hunter College, City University of New York, and an MFA from Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He has had solo presentations of his work at institutions that include the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Baton Rouge; Museo d'arte contemporanea, Rome; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the New Museum, New York. He is the recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome; the Willard L. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the Bessie Award in Visual Arts from the Dance Theater Workshop; and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

The Barnes Foundation ( was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture." The Barnes holds one of the world's finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; works by American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; important examples of African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles; decorative arts and ironwork; and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. While most collections are grouped by chronology, style, or genre, art at the Barnes is arranged in ensembles structured according to light, line, color, and space—principles that Dr. Barnes called "the universal language of art." The Foundation's programs include First Fridays, young professionals nights, tours, tastings, and family programs, as well as Barnes–de Mazia Education Program courses and workshops. These programs advance the Foundation's mission through progressive, experimental, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. The Barnes Foundation is open Wednesday–Monday and tickets can be purchased on site, online, or by calling 215.278.7200. Ticket prices and current hours are listed on our website. 

The Barnes Arboretum in Merion contains more than 2,500 varieties of trees and woody plants, many of them rare. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Laura Leggett Barnes, the living collections include 40 state champion trees, a Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important plant collections include lilacs, peonies, stewartias, ferns, medicinal plants, hostas, and magnolias. The Horticulture Education program has offered a comprehensive three-year certificate course in the botanical sciences, horticulture, garden aesthetics, and design since its establishment in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes. The arboretum also offers horticulture workshops and lectures, and is open to the public Friday–Sunday from May through November. Tickets can be purchased on site, online, or by calling 215.278.7200. Ticket prices and current hours are listed on our website. 


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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