Mixtape - Now We Know

Track 6

Subject of the Nasher Sculpture Center’s 2015 traveling retrospective Melvin Edwards: Five Decades, the artist Melvin Edwards recently made a generous gift of four sculptures and two drawings presenting a spectrum of the artist’s concerns, methods of working, materials, and themes.

About Track 6: Now We Know

Working primarily in steel, American sculptor Melvin Edwards has produced a remarkable body of work redefining the modernist tradition of welded sculpture. His career spans crucial periods of upheaval and change in American culture and society, and his sculpture provides a critical bridge between modernist techniques and materials and contemporary approaches to the art object. As early as 1988, The New York Times critic Michael Brenson lauded him as “one of the best American sculptors.” Born in Houston in 1937, Edwards has worked in places ranging from Los Angeles and New York to Zimbabwe, Japan, and Cuba. He has brought his experiences of other cultures and languages, particularly those of Africa, into his practice, to explore the varied ways that art can forge bonds of connection and kinship.

Edwards has created works in various formats, including large-scale installations and public sculpture, which were presented and documented in the Nasher Sculpture Center’s 2015 traveling retrospective Melvin Edwards: Five Decades and its accompanying publication. Recently, Edwards generously gave to the Nasher four sculptures and two drawings presenting a spectrum of the artist’s concerns, methods of working, materials, and themes. Edwards is perhaps best known for his lynch fragments, an ongoing series of small-scale reliefs begun in the early 1960s during the civil rights movement and represented by two examples in the Nasher gift. Abstract yet highly evocative, lynch fragments offer in tightly compressed compositions thematically expansive expressions of commemoration, revelation, and protest. Their incorporation of tools and other familiar objects, such as chains, bolts, and horseshoes, testifies to the artist’s—and, by extension, the spectator’s—capacity for resistance and constructive response. Works by Julio González and David Smith provide examples of works by two artists who pioneered the use of welding in modern sculpture.


Remix

Discover more about sculpture. Find bonus content like video tours, inspiration playlists, and insights from curators, educators, and living artists. 

Best of Now We Know

Bringing together the greatest hits of Track 6: Now We Know artists and themes.

Video: Abstract Art with a Message: Conversation with Melvin Edwards
Article: Sculpture + History: Excerpt from Nasher Prize Dialogues 2018

Deep Dive

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Article: Disobe-dient Objects

Educator Picks

Suggested resources for families, educators, and the young at heart.

Family Guide: Melvin Edwards: Five Decades
Video: Welding Demonstration
Art Project: Create Art for an Important Cause: Activity Inspired by Carrie Mae Weems


Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
214.242.5100
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