Derrick Adams - Unbound: Online Auction New York Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Artist
    Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the present lot, titled The Great Wall, famed boxer Mike Tyson has been obscured by a metallic and geometrically pleasing wall of bricks. Referencing Tyson as his version of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, Adams questions one's perception of an "icon.” Has Tyson been culturally objectified or venerated? Bricked into his space, the wall makes reference to the notion of entrapment and slavery. Tyson's freedom is visually questioned though the title does not make reference to a wall of containment but rather to The Great Wall of China. A wall built to defend, it also served to control immigration and emigration. Tyson is portrayed as both defensive and vulnerable, as the floating wall of silver bricks seem to dissipate and crumble along it's edges, accentuating the weakling of his strength. "The artist's argument is that expectations of strength are merely spent muscles, worn down by pity and poverty. Adams thus styles himself as a witness and a minor savior of what is best about the street, a grim beauty of person and place."(Charlie Finch, "BrickTop," artnet news, 2010)

  • Artist Biography

    Derrick Adams

    American • 1970

    Through the mediums of collage, video, sculpture and drawing, Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams explores the way mass media affects identity, particularly in the context of African Americans in contemporary culture.

    In his collage works mimicking television screens, Adams takes his source imagery from screen captures of old clips from YouTube, which he then uses as reference. “The images come from…everything from ‘Good Times’ to ‘Coming to America’ to Oprah on the news…These images I’m taking from all these shows—from comedy to news or whatever—all are representations of black characterization…These images can be problematic because they’re such a high-animated state that they become more like caricatures of themselves”. In rendering these reference images with blocks of color, Adams confronts the media’s deconstruction of reality. 

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The Great Wall

signed and numbered "Adams 1/3 A/P" on the reverse
digital photograph with metallic paint
image 17 1/2 x 16 in. (44.5 x 40.6 cm.)
sheet 30 x 22 1/4 in. (76.2 x 56.5 cm.)

Executed in 1999, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3 plus 1 artist's proof.

$4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $5,000

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Unbound: Online Auction

Bidding Closes 18 April 2019