Friday, August 19, 2022
Join us for a conversation between the celebrated modern and contemporary artist Melvin Edwards and Public Art Fund Adjunct Curator Daniel S. Palmer, as they discuss Edwards’ outdoor exhibition Melvin Edwards: Brighter Days and the artist’s trailblazing career in abstract sculpture and public art.
About Melvin Edwards:
A pioneer of abstract sculpture, Houston-born Melvin Edwards began his career in the 1960s after studying at the University of Southern California. Edwards gained notoriety from his first solo exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 1965, where he uniquely blurred abstraction and symbolism to comment on social justice issues – an approach distinct from his Minimalist and Post-Modernist contemporaries. At this time, he initiated his renowned, ongoing body of work Lynch Fragments, a sculpture series investigating themes of racial violence, anti-war protest, and Edwards’ connections to Africa. Shortly thereafter, he exhibited at the Studio Museum of Harlem in 1969, and by 1970, became the first African American sculptor with a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Edwards has produced over 20 public works throughout his career for universities, public housing projects, and museums. Now living and working across multiple studios in two states and Senegal, Melvin Edwards continues to be a leading voice in sculpture, exhibiting nationally and internationally.
About Daniel S. Palmer:
Daniel S. Palmer is chief curator at the SCAD Museum of Art. Previously he was curator at Public Art Fund, New York, where he organized 15 exhibitions including Melvin Edwards: Brighter Days (2021), Awol Erizku: New Visions for Iris (2021), Carmen Herrera: Estructuras Monumentales (2019), Harold Ancart: Subliminal Standard (2019), Tony Oursler: Tear of the Cloud (2018), and Liz Glynn: Open House (2017), among others. Prior to his role at Public Art Fund, he served as the Leon Levy Assistant Curator at the Jewish Museum and Curatorial Research Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Palmer has curated numerous exhibitions independently and has contributed writing to many artist monographs, publications, and journals including ARTnews, The New York Times, Mousse, and Kaleidoscope, among others. He holds a Ph.D. and M.Phil in art history from the CUNY Graduate Center and a B.A. from Rutgers University.
Melvin Edwards, Song of the Broken Chains, 2020 , Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London © 2021 Melvin Edwards/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Presented by Public Art Fund at City Hall Park, New York City, May 4 to November 28, 2021.
Photo: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY.