At Last, Melvin Edwards’s Steel Abstractions Come to City Hall Park

Melvin Edwards, “Song of the Broken Chains” (2020), stainless steel, 3 sections (approximate): Section 1: 48h x 144w inches; section 2: 96h x 48w inches; section 3: 48h x 96w inches; overall dimensions (approximate): 96h x 216w x 144d inches (image courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; © Melvin Edwards/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Starting May 4, Melvin Edwards: Brighter Days, a landmark survey of the artist’s work from 1970 to 2020, will fill the lawns and walkways of New York’s City Hall Park. Organized by Public Art Fund, the show will introduce the public to rarely exhibited large-scale sculptures made by Edwards, who is best known for his Lynch Fragments, a smaller-scale series of welded, abstract sculptures that reflect histories of racial terror.

Amid the rebellions of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Edwards pioneered a sculptural language that blended politics and abstraction. Now, during another moment of uprising, his works will be installed in the Financial District park — a space haunted by its history as the burial ground of thousands of enslaved and free Africans.

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