15. Melvin Edwards

Melvin Edwards (b. 1937 Houston, Texas)

Weapon of Freedom

Welded steel, 1986

The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara '68 and Theodore '68 Alfond. 2014.1.58

This work is a part of a series entitled, Lynch Fragments, that the artist began making in 1963. In producing these sculptures he incorporates found objects, tools, and scrap metal. Following his initial interest in this process, he again revisited the Lynch Fragments during the Vietnam War and in the late seventies and early eighties as a result of multiple trips to Africa (this work is a part of the later series). Themes of racial violence, labor, industry, and power are evident in these sculptures. The fragments are relatively small and are hung at eye level, creating an intimate experience for the viewer.

Edwards received his BFA from the University of Southern California. The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Studio Museum, Harlem, and the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York have organized solo exhibition of the artist’s work. He taught at Rutgers University from 1972 to 2002. He lives and works in New York.

This sculpture was included in the 2015 Venice Biennale exhibition, All the World's Futures. The Nasher Sculpture Center organized a major retrospective of the artist’s work, Melvin Edwards: Five Decades in 2015. Edwards’ works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Studio Museum, Harlem, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.