Works Exhibited


What can I reveal that has not been shown? Black people—not entertaining, just being, living. Letting people deal with that as reality.
—Derrick Adams

Derrick Adams celebrates and expands the dialogue around contemporary Black life and culture through scenes of normalcy and perseverance. He has developed an iconography of joy, leisure, and the pursuit of happiness with a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses paintings, sculptures, collages, performances, videos, and public projects. Adams synthesizes representational imagery with planar Cubist geometry to produce multifaceted figures and faces that address the richness of the Black experience.

Born in Baltimore in 1970, Adams lives and works in New York. He received his BFA from Pratt University, New York, in 1996 and graduated with an MFA from Columbia University, New York, in 2003. Adams has held numerous teaching positions and is currently a tenured assistant professor in the School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts at CUNY Brooklyn College.

His installation Sanctuary was first exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, in 2018. Inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guidebook for Black American road-trippers during an era when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-white people was widespread. The mixed-media installation reimagines safe destinations of relaxation and leisure for the Black American traveler during the mid-twentieth century.

Derrick Adams: Come as You Are poster

Derrick Adams: Come as You Are

From $20
Cover of the Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2023 Issue featuring artwork by Derrick Adams

Gagosian Quarterly: Fall 2023 Issue

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Face Card) T-Shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Face Card) T-shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Unicorn Floater) T-Shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Unicorn Floater) T-shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Sweet Revolution) T-Shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Sweet Revolution) T-shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Sunny) T-Shirt

Derrick Adams: Sweet Retreat (Sunny) T-shirt

Front of the beige Derrick Adams × Union: Art Tee

Derrick Adams × Union: Art Tee

Front of the gray Derrick Adams × Union: Show Tee

Derrick Adams × Union: Show Tee


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Derrick Adams