Humble, passionate and accomplished, Derrick Adams is committed to being a Black joy artist. His subtle philosophy of depicting Black figures and faces in states of "just being" is a proven hit with collectors and investors alike. Continue reading to find out five reasons to be investing in Adams' work.
1. Artistic Excellence
Derrick Adams is a highly regarded artist known for his multimedia approach to art and representation of contemporary Black life and culture through his works. With a BFA from Pratt University, an MFA from Columbia University and an internationally renowned artistic career, Adams is also a professor at CUNY Brooklyn College.
In the past few years, Adams has held numerous solo exhibitions at institutions such as The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Hudson River Museum, Yonkers and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.
And as if that wasn’t enough, he also established the Charm City Cultural Cultivation in 2022 – an organisation designed to support and encourage underserved communities in Baltimore.
Adams' works are in high demand and fetch high prices at auctions, making them a potentially lucrative investment. His work is popular among art collectors and enthusiasts, further driving demand for his pieces.
As of March 2023, the Gagosian proudly announced the global representation of Adams with a debut exhibition of new paintings to be presented in Beverly Hills in September 2023.
Around the same time as this announcement, a work on paper entitled Style Variation 4 sold for, over three times its high estimate at Phillips, New York for $215,900. The current record, however, was set in 2021 for his 2019 painting entitled Figure In the Urban Landscape which sold at $250,000.
3. Cultural Value
Adams addresses themes of race, identity and equality in his work, making it significant in today's contemporary art world.
Style Variations is a series of portraits depicting the Black community’s empowering yet complicated relationship with hairstyling and wig-wearing. Although, at the heart of these and many more of Adams’ works is joy and possibility; for him, there is much more value in proactively presenting Black normalcy.
Another notable series of works, Floaters, features Black figures relaxing in water on various vibrantly coloured inflatables. Adams describes this presentation of Black leisure as radical or revolutionary and hopes to inspire future generations of artists with this notion.
4. Aesthetic Appeal
Adams' typical style is to use bold, colourful geometric shapes and incorporates elements of pop culture, historical references, and found objects. His works are visually striking and appeal to a wide range of audiences, from art enthusiasts to design fans.
Live and in Color, his 2014 show at New York’s Tilton Gallery, projected Adams to widespread critical acclaim and is a perfect example of his abstract and dynamic style. Using recycled images from sitcoms, game shows, and dramas, he created collages of his material and presented them in a vintage television set. His exaggerated approach parallels over-the-top broadcast introductions of early television announcers, making reference to a time period in which Black stereotypes were too exaggerated and false.
Paintings, sculptures, collages, performances, videos, and public projects – Adams works in a variety of mediums, making his portfolio diverse and appealing to a wide audience.
Aside from his popular, vivid paintings, Adams has been busy working on public art projects across the US. His most recent, titled The City Is My Refuge, presents Adams’ signature, structured portraits as digital prints posted all around Penn Station’s public waiting areas, following the shapes of the building’s architecture. The faces emerge from patterns of green foliage, with the aim of reuniting busy commuters with the natural world.
Adams also brought joy to the Rockefeller Center during the summer of 2022 through his installation of Funtime Unicorns. By installing this children's playground of decorated unicorns, this exhibit was a chance for him to reach new younger audiences and continue experimenting with different installation formats.