Harvard Business School Features Sculptures by Three Black Artists: Yinka Shonibare, Melvin Edwards, and Thaddeus Mosley 

As May begins, I want to share my photos, notes, and links for these three artists while their sculptures are still on campus (for the 2021-22 academic year).

“Searching for the Word” (1989/2019) by Melvin Edwards

“Four sculptures by Black artists have been installed on the campus of Harvard Business School (HBS). “Wind Sculpture (SG) V” (2019) by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA (shown at right) was acquired by HBS this year for the C. Ludens Ringnes Sculpture Collection. “Searching for the Word” (1989/2019) by Melvin Edwards and two sculptures by Thaddeus Mosley (“Illusory Progression,” 2020, and “Rhizogenic Rhythms,” 2020) are on loan to the school for the 2021/22 exhibition. Mosley’s works were commissioned for the 2020 Frieze Sculpture exhibition at Rockefeller Center in New York.” ( quote from Harvard Business School Newsroom , Sept 22, 2021)

Melvin Edwards

Born in 1937 in Houston, Melvin Edwards moved to New York in 1967. In 1970, he became the first African American sculptor to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and in 1978 he had a retrospective at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Best known for his Lynch Fragments—small abstract sculptures variously formed from tools, chains, railroad spikes, and steel scraps—Edwards works in a wide range of media, from barbed-wire installations to large-scale painted steel sculptures. His powerful and moving sculptures engage with history and politics, exploring such themes as violence, injustice, struggle, and civil rights.“( quote from Harvard Business School Newsroom , Sept 22, 2021)

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA 

“Wind Sculpture (SG) V was acquired by Harvard Business School in 2021 for the C. Ludens Ringnes Sculpture Collection. In this work, Shonibare employs Dutch wax textiles to visualize the idea of capturing the volume of wind. Constructed of industrial materials, the monumental, hand-painted 22-foot-high sculpture is based on photographs of wind being blown into the actual batik fabrics. Shonibare has expressed his aim with the Wind Sculpture series: “I wanted to defy gravity. To do something that actually looks soft, but it’s made out of hard materials, like fiberglass and metal.”’ “( quote from Harvard Business School Newsroom , Sept 22, 2021)

Thaddeus Mosley 

“At age 95, Mosley continues to work in his studio six hours a day. Illusory Progression and Rhizogenic Rhythms were commissioned for the 2020 Frieze Sculpture exhibition at Rockefeller Center in New York. Carved out of salvaged timber and then cast in bronze, these biomorphic sculptures playfully interact with one another and their surroundings. Mosley’s inventive works not only push the boundaries of the medium, but also engage with the history of sculpture. As the artist has described, “One of the most important aspects of my own work is how different segments interact. Because of [sculptor Isamu] Noguchi, I’ve aimed for work that levitates or is slightly off balance.””( quote from Harvard Business School Newsroom, Sept 22, 2021)

Key Resources

“Harvard Business School Announces New Pieces Added to the Public Art Exhibition Supported by the C. Ludens Ringnes Sculpture Collection”

C. Ludens Ringnes Sculpture Collection, Contemporary Art

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, artist website

Melvin Edwards (on Alexander Gray Associates site)

Thaddeus Mosley (on Karma site)

Public Art Tours: Allston

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