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James Nares: Monuments

May 23, 2019 - June 29, 2019

Kasmin is pleased to present an exhibition of James Nares’ newest body of work, entitled Monuments, on view at 509 West 27th Street between May 23 – June 29, 2019.

New York City’s oldest surviving downtown sidewalks were made almost 200 years ago by immigrant masons who lined the streets with giant paving stones of solid granite. These monolithic slabs they then chiseled with improvised marks and designs, to prevent pedestrians from slipping. These carvings have withstood the erosion of time and foot traffic, leaving a record of free thought and personal markings from the hands and minds of long-forgotten workmen.

Nares made wax frottage rubbings of selected stones and brought them back to his studio where he gilded them with 22-carat gold. Hanging vertically on the wall, they are shining monuments to whom he calls, “the unknown souls whose touch still lingers on the city’s sidewalks.”

Continuing Nares’ lifelong investigation into motion, time and gesture —the “central conceits of Nares’ artistic production”1—these works register the topography of the city which has acted as protagonist and collaborator throughout his oeuvre, notably in films such as Ramp (1976) and STREET (2011). Tracing the materiality of lower Manhattan, where Nares has lived and worked since the 1970s, the works spotlight immigrant labor and its integral place in the fabric of the city.

Over the course of a five-decade career, Nares has investigated, challenged, and expanded the boundaries of his multimedia practice that encompasses film, music, painting, photography, and performance. He continues to employ various media to explore physicality, motion, and the unfolding of time.

This summer, the Milwaukee Art Museum will show a major retrospective, Nares: Moves. The artist has been the subject of solo exhibitions at, among others, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Alte Oper, Frankfurt. Nares is included in several prominent public collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A career-spanning survey of his film and video works were presented in 2008 at Anthology Film Archives, New York; and in 2011 at IFC Center, New York. In 2014, Rizzoli published a comprehensive monograph on Nares’ career to date. Nares has lived and worked in New York since 1974. He has been represented by Kasmin since 1991.

1 Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director. Excerpted from “James Nares: Motion Pictures” from the exhibition catalogue “Nares: Moves,” Milwaukee Art Museum.


May 23, 2019
June 29, 2019
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Kasmin Gallery
(212) 563-4474
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James Nares


Kasmin Gallery, 509
509 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001 United States
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(212) 563-4474
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