In Beverly Hills…Gagosian celebrated Derrick Adams along with his solo exhibition Come as You Are on September 14, 2023. If you missed the opening…not to worry, the solo exhibition will remain on view through October 28, 2023.
Gagosian Derrick Adams
For Come as You Are, Adams continues to develop pictorial vignettes centering the Black figure. However, this time in new works born from the artist’s imagined invitation to the real or fictional personalities he paints.
The exhibition’s title offers encouragement to be present without the need to conceal one’s true self, dreams, and aspirations—a prompt to shed the pressures of adaptation and conformity. Adams counters hackneyed narratives by presenting figures in moments of carefree leisure, inspired by his belief in the constructive power of scenes that uplift and support Black culture. Adding elements of fantastical daydreams as well as a few icons familiar from previous series, he dramatizes lived experience and self-actualization in compositions that balance vivid and muted tones, flat planes and multidimensional space.
Derrick Adams Artworks
Inspired by a Halloween costume once worn by the artist’s aunt, “Be the Table” (all works 2023) merges the levity of a masquerade party with themes surrounding equity and access. The intermingling of her features and surroundings, means that she no longer needs “a seat at the table.” Lookie Loos represents the window display of a beauty supply store near Adams’s studio in Brooklyn. A tribute to the power of self-adornment, it explores a theme also present in his Style Variation series (2019–21). Creative expression is central to “Taking It on the Road,” where a female figure plays a banjo. This is an instrument with deep roots in the African diaspora and American popular music. Encircled by cars, she is envisioned as at one with the lyrics of her song.
In some of the works, Adams incorporates textiles, as well as introducing additional patterns to the multifaceted painted compositions. Each artwork holds a distinct palette that emphasizes its subject’s individuality. Hence, these larger-than-life portraits assert strength, creativity, and definitions of self.
This summer, Adams joins five other leading artists to reimagine the role of monuments in civic life through the temporary outdoor exhibition. Beyond Granite: Pulling Together on the National Mall in Washington, DC, runs from from August 18 through September 18. In America’s Playground: DC (2023), Adams offers a prototype monument in the form of a fully operational playground. The artwork reflects on legacies of leisure, racial division, and transformation in the nation’s capital and beyond.
On view: September 14, 2023 – October 28, 2023
What: Come as You Are, Derrick Adams
Where: Gagosian, 456 North Camden, Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
When: Running through October 28, 2023
CLICK HERE for additional upcoming art exhibitions, along with performances and foodie events.