Derrick Adams 1970 –
Derrick Adams focuses on friends, family, joy, serenity and the myriad leisure activities that make up the every day life of Black Americans.
He’s even opening an artists’ retreat in his hometown of Baltimore. He’s calling it Last Resort. Visitors will attend the retreat by invitation only and will not be required to do anything. Adams got the idea for the retreat after he was invited to the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida.
“You can come and not do anything.” he said in a recent interview in Vogue. “Everything is very loose. Artists create images that reflect certain ideals and conditions. A lot of my work is about leisure, and I thought, What if I make what I’m making art about—make it actual? Why don’t I just make it so it’s a real place? That will be my legacy.”
Adams attended Columbia University and the Pratt Institute and is currently on a tenure track at Brooklyn College.
His Style Variations Series was inspired by the hair salons and barber shops he passes by during his walks through the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood that surrounds his studio. He began to ask stylists about the cuts and culture and created the series that celebrates the variety of styles that he found in the shops.
Yoshitomo Nara 1959 –
Yoshitomo Nara is a superstar, not just in Japan, but around the world.
Last year, Nara was in the U.S., helping to install his exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Just three days into the installation, the pandemic had taken hold, the Safer at Home order was given, and the show was postponed.
It finally opened last year, and was a huge success. More than 800 works, spanning nearly forty years, were displayed, as well as an entry gallery that held 350 records from Nara’s collection that have influenced his work.
Music has had a profound influence on Nara’s life and work, since his childhood in Japan. He was a latchkey kid, who grew up listening to the music broadcast from a nearby U.S. military base. He was a great lover of punk rock, blues and much of the music he heard during the 1970s and ’80s.
The exhibition traveled to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and is currently at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam through September 2021.
After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Nara stopped working for a while, and then began to sculpt. He made Doggy Radio, a limited edition polymer sculpture that is also a functional radio, available at VFA.
The Work of Derrick Adams and Yoshitomo Nara at VFA
Dodie Kazanjian. Derrick Adams’s Art Celebrates Black Life at its Most Exultant. Vogue Magazine. April 1, 2021.
Evan Pricco. Derrick Adams Finds Strength in “Style Variations”. Juxtapoz Magazine. March 23, 2021.
Elisa Wouk Almino. Yoshitomo Nara Reflects on His Major LACMA Retrospective. Hyperallergic. October 7, 2020.
Juxtapoz. A Daily Life: Julian Opie @ Lisson Gallery, NYC. Juxtapoz. March 5, 2019.
Tabish Khan. 10 Must See Exhibitions In London This June. The Londonist. June 2021.