Derrick Adams

(born 1970, Baltimore, Maryland; lives and works in New York, New York)

Derrick Adams
Derrick Adams
Derrick Adams
Derrick Adams

The photographic series I Crush a Lot #1–4 documents Derrick Adams’s performance of the same title. Framed by precise spotlighting, Adams engages with a shadowy silhouette projected on the wall behind him. The silhouette forms the outline of a still photograph of artist David Hammons’s well-known 1983 street performance Blizaard Ball Sale (also featured in Radical Presence), in which Hammons attempted to sell snowballs on Cooper Square in downtown New York. As he crushes a block of ice, Adams reinterprets and draws attention to the lasting impact of Hammons’s performance.

Adams’s I Crush a Lot performance is part of a larger series entitled “Communicating with Shadows,” in which he responds to iconic performance art pieces. For an iteration of the series presented at the Studio Museum in spring 2012, Adams engaged with works by Hammons, Bruce Nauman, Senga Nengudi and Adrian Piper. In the short vignettes, Adams works with props chosen for their relevance to the piece in question, such as iceboxes used in I Crush a Lot. Adams also draws upon the symbols and products of pop culture. Here, the work’s title quotes a 1997 hip-hop song by Big Pun, but also alludes to admiring major performance artists who have influenced Adams and his contemporaries.

Derrick Adams received his BFA in art and design education from Pratt Institute in 1996 and his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. In addition to holding numerous teaching positions, Adams was the curatorial director at Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center, New York, from 2001 to 2009. His solo exhibitions include Deconstruction Worker, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York (2012); Go Stand Next to the Mountain, The Kitchen, New York (2010); Anew, Performa 05, Participant Inc, New York (2005); I’m Smoke; You’re Mirror, Participant Inc, New York (2005); Me and My Imaginary Friends, Triple Candie, New York (2004); and The Big Getaway, Jack Tilton Gallery, New York (2003). His group exhibitions include The Bearden Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2011); Precarity and the Butter Tower, Bryan Miller Gallery, Houston (2010); NeoIntegrity Comics Edition, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, New York (2010); Harlem Postcards, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009); Dream of Today, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles (2007); The Pulse of New Brooklyn, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn (2006); Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2005); Notorious Impropriety, Sampson Projects, LLC, Boston (2004); Open House: Working in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum (2004); 24/7: Wilno—Nueva York (Visa Para), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania (2003); Veni Vidi Video, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2003); Hotel/Motel, Triple Candie, New York (2002); and Derrick Adams and Dread Scott, Corridor Gallery, Brooklyn (2000).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Panel Discussion: More Documentation: Photography and Performance
Moderated by Karen Finley and Deborah Willis; with Derrick Adams, Holly Bass, Clifford Owens, Xaviera Simmons and Daniel Tisdale
Kimmel Center, NYU (60 Washington Square South, Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th Floor, New York)

Clifford Owens: Anthology Roundtable
Derrick Adams, Terry Adkins, Sherman Fleming, Maren Hassinger, Steffani Jemison, Lorraine O’Grady, and Clifford Owens in conversation with Kellie Jones
This roundtable was published in the exhibition catalogue for Clifford Owens: Anthology (2011), organized by Christopher Y. Lew at MoMA PS1. This transcript was reprinted with generous permission from MoMA PS1, the organizing curator and the panel participants.