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Derrick Adams: Sweet Spot

10 November 2022 - 15 December 2022



LGDR & Wei is pleased to present Sweet Spot, an exhibition of seven new paintings by multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and based in Brooklyn, New York, Adams employs techniques of collage, fragmentation, and synthesis of form to create representations of Black joy, leisure, and fantasy, expanding the conventional canon of cultural imagery that has described Black experience. Sweet Spot unveils new works from his latest series, Motion Picture Paintings, that pays homage to the Black figure and draws inspiration from Adams’s personal observations and imagination as well as Black films of the 1990s.

Opening November 10 in Hong Kong, Sweet Spot is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Asia.

Initiated in 2020, the Motion Picture Paintings series depicts Adams’s family members, peers, acquaintances, and characters from everyday encounters in his signature Cubist style, characterized by color blocks and dimensionality. As an artist with an established and distinctive visual language, Adams has taken a more liberated approach with these new works, offering an expanded context to the narrative urban landscape that has dominated his oeuvre. With the Motion Picture Paintings, Adams beckons the viewer to see what he sees: Blackness in its marvelously varied forms of storytelling, positionality, and excellence, rather than in the burdensome stereotypes that have traditionally saturated the media.

The specific group of paintings exhibited in Hong Kong exists in the “Sweet Spot,” as they are distinguished and exceptional for the tender intimacy and emotional depths they impart. Their encompassing sentiment is felt in Sister Cousins (2022), in which two embracing women convey a powerful sense of reunion. The painting is based on a photograph of two family members whose relationship is most easily defined by a term familiar in Black community vernacular: “sister cousins.” Another double portrait Arting (2022) depicts acquaintances rather than family members. At a 2020 opening for a London exhibition of Adams’s work, the artist encountered two brilliantly dressed women, who possessed a particular refinement and stateliness one would come to know from Black elder sisters. Initially captured in separate photographs, the women appear in Arting side by side. When professor and cultural critic bell hooks died in late 2021, Adams instinctively added to the painting the phrase “Art on My Mind,” a nod to hooks’s significant volume of writings on art and visual culture, Art on My Mind: Visual Politics (1995). Adams says, “I wrote [the title] on the painting because I wanted to make a note to myself of a particular time. I made this painting to document that history.”


Derrick Adams was born in 1970 in Baltimore, Maryland. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute (1996) and his MFA from Columbia University (2003). Solo exhibitions of Adams’s work have been presented at venues such as the Cleveland Museum of Art (2021); the Gallery in Baltimore City Hall, Maryland (2019); the Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2018); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2018). In 2020, Derrick Adams: Buoyant was organized by the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York (2020) and traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. Recently, the artist’s installation Funtime Unicorns (2022) was on view in Rockefeller Center in New York. Adams is the recipient of a 2009 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and a 2018 Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship. He founded the Black Baltimore Digital Database, a collaborative counter-institutional space for collecting, storing, and safekeeping the cultural production of Black Baltimoreans. In 2022, Adams received a Mellon Foundation grant for the project. Also in Baltimore, Adams initiated The Last Resort Artist Retreat, a residency that prioritizes rest for Black creatives. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, among others.


10 November 2022
15 December 2022
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