Ward Shelley works as an artist in New York and Connecticut. He is interested in constructed worlds and intersecting narratives; how they create, mediate and inform each other. He wants to know how things really work.
Shelley specializes in large projects that freely mix architecture and performance. For more than a decade, he has been collaborating with Alex Schweder, using experimental architecture to explore the dance between the designed environment and its consequences. Since 2007, the duo have designed, built, and lived in (or on) seven structures, all of them in locations where the public are invited not only to witness, but also to actively engage with the artists in direct dialogue about their practice—an activity that has coalesced into what they call “performance architecture.”
Shelley also works on diagramatic paintings: information-based timelines on culture-related subjects and historical postmortems. He frequently works with Douglas Paulson on installations and environments that attempt to turn mind, text, and meaning inside out (for a better look). They created the “The Last Library” project for Spaces in 2015.
Shelley’s work has been exhibited in more than 10 countries and is in a number of museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Art Museum, and The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. Shelley received a Painting and Sculpture award from the Joan Mitchell foundation, and has been a fellow of the American Academy in Rome since 2006. He has received NYFA and NEA fellowships in sculpture and new media categories, a Bessie Award for installation art, and grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He is represented by Pierogi Gallery in New York.
Information on the book mentioned in the interview – The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion is a 2012 social psychology book by Jonathan Haidt, in which the author describes human morality as it relates to politics and religion.Haidt presents moral foundations theory, and applies it to the political beliefs of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians in the US.