Imagination can be radical.
Primary is pleased to present Black White and Brown, a fully immersive installation by multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams, his first solo exhibition with the gallery. This uniquely equanimous exhibition unveils all-new works and reconvenes previously-unavailable segments from performances and presentations at MoMA/Ps1, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem and Performa, among others. Presented together as a collection for the first time, Black White and Brown highlights an important part of Adams’ conceptual framework: the semiotic consideration of the institutional presentation of artworks.
Black White and Brown incorporates bold geometric black and white patterns, some with various shades of brown, in reference to the black body as a conduit or apparatus for performative mechanisms in the work. Living within Adams’ lexicon of intentionality, these works (dis)assemble emblems of cultural identity, social-political commentary, and formalized structures. Demonstrating power and reverence, familiar and unfamiliar imagery is presented against the hard-edged grid of the gallery’s black and white interior wall patterns.
Set in a virtually unrecognizable Primary Projects space, mixed media objects stand in direct conversation with Adams’ bold Op-Art application as a backdrop. While the artist’s installation represents an element of engagement with formalism, his work is, at the same time, thrust into the contemporary art space, destabilizing an excessive focus on representation in lieu of provenance and cultural context. Following the genesis of Adams’ artistic practice, Black White and Brown adapts his signature collage to the built-environment, at once offering viewers access to works past while journeying into a vision for the future.
Derrick Adams (American, b. 1970) is a New York–based, multidisciplinary artist working in performance, video, sound, paint, textile- and paper-based collage, and multimedia sculpture. His practice is rooted in deconstructivist philosophies such as the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, and the marriage of complex and improbable forms. Through these techniques, Adams examines the force of popular culture and the media on the perception and construction of self-image. Adams received his MFA from Columbia University, BFA from Pratt Institute, and is an alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, as well as the recipient of the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, S.J. Weiler Award, and Agnes Martin Fellowship. He’s exhibited and performed at MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum of Art, PERFORMA, Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among many others notable galleries and institutions. Adams’ work is in the permanent collections of Studio Museum in Harlem, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Birmingham Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.