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Derrick Adams

Born 1970, Baltimore, Maryland 

Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn. He earned his undergraduate degree in fine arts at the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn) and an MFA at Columbia University. 

Through a lens of normalcy and resilience, Adams’s work expands on the dialogue around contemporary Black life and culture. Within a practice that encompasses painting, sculpture, collage, performance, video, and installation, he has developed an iconography of joy, leisure, and the pursuit of happiness. Celebrating the richness of the Black experience, Adams’s autographic style of multifaceted subjects (figures, faces, etc.) draws on both representational imagery and Cubist geometry.

For his 2017 collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, Adams did extensive research on the American fashion designer, Patrick Kelly, whose career was based in Paris. Like Adams, Kelly was known for the exuberance of his creations. His talents were acknowledged in 1988 when he became the first American designer to be admitted into France’s Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion.

Parlay, Adams’ s work on view, was inspired by a printed dice pattern that Patrick Kelly used in a line of women's clothing. The term parlay is also associated with many dice games, and in urban vernacular often means chill.

Adams’s work has been collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Birmingham Museum of Art, among many others.