San Francisco—Lévy Gorvy is pleased to announce its return to FOG Design+Art with a booth dedicated to multidisciplinary artist Terry Adkins (1953-2014), whose practice encompasses sculpture, music, performance, and video. Embodying the spirit of improvisatory freedom found in jazz, his artwork resonates with a powerful presence and thematic associations inspired by his deep engagement with history. As he explained: 'My quest has been to find a way to make music as physical as sculpture might be and sculpture as ethereal as music is.' Our presentation at FOG will span three decades of Adkins's uniquely multifaceted career, inviting renewed consideration of his revolutionary oeuvre.
Among the works at our booth, Mvet Majestic II (1989) and Pine (2003) will be included later this year in Terry Adkins: Resounding at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in Saint Louis. At FOG, Lévy Gorvy will highlight the ingenuity and depth of meaning in his art, which the gallery first exhibited in 2018 with Terry Adkins: The Smooth, the Cut, and the Assembled, curated by artist Charles Gaines. One of the exhibition's centrepieces, Native Son (Circus) (2006)–a sculpture inspired by an incident in Charlie Parker's early career–is now in the collection of the Art Bridges Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas. Behearer II (2013), an assemblage that bridges sculpture and music, recently entered the collection of San Francisco's de Young Museum.
Adkins frequently employed a wide array of readymade materials, including components of musical instruments and artefacts of recorded music. He forged intuitive links with these media through a process of recognition, gestation, and transformation that he called 'potential disclosure.' Complementing his artistic production, Adkins founded the Lone Wolf Recital Corps: a regularly rotating ensemble of artists, musicians, and friends, who collaborated on musical performances and art installations that the artist referred to as 'recitals.'
Adkins conducted substantial historical and biographical research to inform his creation of focused works of art in response to sites and individuals. He was often inspired by figures related to the African diaspora, ranging from abolitionist John Brown and composer Ludwig van Beethoven to blues singer Bessie Smith, botanist and inventor George Washington Carver, and Arctic explorer Matthew Henson. As homages, the resulting works symbolically reclaim the past, investing received narratives with new complexity. Heralding the legacies of his subjects, Adkins's art continues to compel thought and imagination with experiential and conceptual richness.
About the Artist
Adkins will be featured in major exhibitions at three venues this spring. On view from February 20 through May 31, 2020, Terry Adkins: Our Sons and Daughters Ever on the Altar will be co-organised in Nashville by the Frist Art Museum and the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery at Fisk University, the artist's alma mater. Terry Adkins: Resounding will be held at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in Saint Louis from March 13 through August 2, 2020.
In 2012, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, organised Terry Adkins: Recital, an exhibition that spanned three decades of his career. In 2017, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, mounted Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, which featured a series of performances that reunited the collective for the first time since the artist's passing. In 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami organised Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, and Lévy Gorvy presented Terry Adkins: The Smooth, The Cut, and The Assembled, an exhibition curated by his friend and frequent collaborator Charles Gaines.
Work by Adkins can be found in the collections of major public institutions, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Art Bridges Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas; Pérez Art Museum Miami; and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.