Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary New York–based artist with practices rooted in Deconstructivist philosophies and the formation and perception of ideals attached to objects, colors, symbols and ideologies. Focus is on fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface – exploring shape-shifting forces of popular culture and its counter balances lives. Shedding light on persuasive, performative and often duplicitous identities, as well as on architectural objects and history, the work explores the relationship between man and monument as they coexist in the landscape as representations of one another.
Adams received his BFA from the Pratt Institute in New York, NY, and his MFA from Columbia University, also in New York, NY. He is also a Skowhegan and Marie Walsh Sharpe alumnus. He is a recipient of a 2009 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and is an honored finalist for the 2011 William H. Prize. Exhibition and performance highlights include: MoMA PS1 Greater New York 2005, PERFORMA 05, Brooklyn Museum Open House, The Kitchen NYC 2010, The Bearden Project at the Studio Museum in Harlem 2011/12, a four-night solo performance in BAM’s new Fisher Theater in September 2012, a solo exhibition at Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, 2013, and a solo exhibition at Tilton Gallery in New York, 2014.
Derrick Adams 2016 Artist in Residence Program Solo Exhibition: Culture Club
May 18th – Jun 24th 2016: Culture Club is a solo project of large-scale works on paper exploring ideas of celebration, highlighting the Black figure in the context of contemporary culture and leisure. With a nod to cultural perseverance, the display gives perspective to the creative output and outlet of Black America as a reaction to the joys and struggles of just being.
Adams' seriocomic approach in Culture Club is achieved through a series of figurative mixed media painting-collages and installations. A spread of twenty pool-lounging figures, better known as the “Floaters,” traverse the gallery, where they function both as individual vignettes and as a nonlinear narrative. Each floater is a swath of deep blue acrylic on paper that incorporate collaged elements of vivid African prints and other graphic textiles depicting swimming pool scenes of figures in states of rest and play on inflatable and whimsical pool floats. The “Floater” paintings are joined by additional collage works resembling aerial views of table settings of celebratory gatherings and festive unions, communicating collectiveness and family history - past, present and future, surviving and thriving.
African heritage and American nationalism are central to the conversation taking place in Culture Club and explores this relationship, offering not only a commentary on the joy of the present; but also, presenting a direction for the future.