Derrick Adams’ Scenes of Black Joy Through Formalism #ArtTuesday
ArtNews shares this beautiful work from Derrick Adams showcasing and celebrating Black joy.
Derrick Adams’s studio in a partially converted Brooklyn warehouse is a bright, tidy space: white walls, a pair of white sofas. In September, a painting hanging on one of the walls is a peephole into another world altogether: a museum gallery is decked out for a party. There are balloons, and a “Happy Birthday” banner. On the museum wall, in this tableau, is a painting of the movie poster for Mr. Soul, the 2018 documentary about groundbreaking TV producer and talk show host Ellis Haizlip and his program SOUL!, which ran on public television from 1968 to 1973, and threw a spotlight on the Black Arts Movement. In the center of the gallery are two sculptures: the late artist Elizabeth Catlett’s 1955 Target, the bust of an African American man from the collection of the High Museum in Atlanta, and a sculpture of a powerful female figure by Mali’s Bambara people. Both are wearing party hats, and the Bambaran sculpture has a blowout noisemaker in its mouth. The sole human guest at the festivities is a museum security guard, a Black woman, who blows a bright pink celebratory bubble of gum. The piece exudes joy; it is itself a celebration of Black culture.
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