Columbus Museum of Art presents Melvin Edwards: Five Decades

For Immediate Release:
December 15, 2015

Media Contact:
Nancy Colvin, 614.629.0303


Columbus Museum of Art presents Melvin Edwards: Five Decades


(Columbus, OH) – The Columbus Museum of Art presents Melvin Edwards: Five Decades February 12 – May 8, 2016. The exhibition is a retrospective of the renowned American sculptor Melvin Edwards. Working primarily in welded steel, Edwards is perhaps best known for his Lynch Fragments, an ongoing series of small-scale reliefs born out of the social and political turmoil of the civil rights movement.  Incorporating tools and other familiar objects, such as chains, locks, and ax heads, Edwards’s Lynch Fragments are abstract yet evocative, summoning a range of artistic, cultural, and historical references.  

“Melvin Edwards’ work often deals with a history of racial injustice that we, as a society, are still grappling with today, and it approaches this subject matter using an artistic language that is both abstract and emotionally powerful,” said CMA Curator of Contemporary Art Tyler Cann. “The work performs this remarkable feat of being unsentimental, but also very humanizing and empathetic.”   

Spanning half a century, Edwards’s career has extended far beyond the Lynch Fragments. In 1970 he showed a groundbreaking installation of environmental barbed-wire sculptures at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the first solo exhibition by an African American sculptor held at the museum.  Melvin Edwards: Five Decades will feature a recreation by the artist of these works, in addition to midsize and large-scale sculptures, maquettes reflecting his long career as a public sculptor, rarely seen drawings, and a selection of his sketchbooks.   

Born in Houston, Texas in 1937, Edwards spent several formative childhood years in Dayton, Ohio before moving to Los Angeles and then New York City. Today, Edwards divides his time between his studio in Plainfield, New Jersey and residences, with studios, in Accord, New York and Dakar, Senegal. His work is held in many U.S. museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Edwards has had a long career as a public sculptor, with works in Senegal, Japan, Cuba and throughout the United States, including a monumental work in Columbus: From the Struggles of the Past to a Brilliant Future is located in Mount Vernon Plaza off of Atcheson Street. 

Melvin Edwards: Five Decades is organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas, and its Associate Curator, Catherine Craft. The exhibition is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The presentation at Columbus Museum of Art is coordinated by Curator of Contemporary Art Tyler Cann. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated, scholarly catalogue. 

The Columbus Museum of Art creates great experiences with great art for everyone. The Greater Columbus Arts Council, Nationwide Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, and the Henry D. and Carol B. Clark, Hermann Vorys, Fred Sands Family, Sayre Charitable, and James W. Overstreet funds of The Columbus Foundation provide ongoing support. CMA, Schokko Art Café, and the Museum Store are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and until 9:00 pm every Thursday. Museum admission is $14 for adults; $8 for seniors and students 6 and older; and free for members, children 5 and younger. Admission is free for all on Sundays. CMA Free Sundays presented by Arts Alive is made possible through a grant from PNC Foundation. For additional information, call 614.221.4848 or visit

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