DAVID KORDANSKY GALLERY in Los Angeles announced its representation of Derek Fordjour this morning. He will continue to be represented by Petzel Gallery, where he had a major exhibition, “Derek Fordjour: Self Must Die,” last fall.

Fordjour expresses himself through painting, sculpture and installation. Employing layers of cardboard, newspaper, and paint, a complex visual materiality is present throughout his work.

Issues of race, identity, and inequality are central to his practice. He invokes the culture of sport and the symbolism of teams, uniforms, marching bands, and formations in his explorations of the power of the collective and the vulnerability, agency, and scrutiny that comes with visibility and achievement. Intense color and repetition are key elements in his work.

Recognition of Fordjour has risen sharply over the past few of years. In 2018, a pair of public art commissions were unveiled in New York—an outdoor installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art and a project with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. “Parade,” a series of mosaic works by Fordjour are permanently installed at the 145th Street subway station in Harlem.

Last year, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presented “Derek Fordjour: Shelter,” the artist’s first full-scale solo museum exhibition. An extensive profile in The New York Times coincided with his Petzel exhibition. His work has recently been acquired by a number of museums, including the Whitney Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Dallas Museum of Art, and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“Derek Fordjour is one of the most inventive, distinct, and culturally relevant American artists working today. He’s created an immediately recognizable iconography and materiality that grapples with complex and urgent themes of identity, race, vulnerability, and grief.”
— Mike Homer, David Kordansky Gallery

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Fordjour lives and works in New York. He studied at Pratt Institute and went on to earn an undergraduate degree from Morehouse College. He also holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and an MFA from Hunter College.

“Derek Fordjour is one of the most inventive, distinct, and culturally relevant American artists working today. He’s created an immediately recognizable iconography and materiality that grapples with complex and urgent themes of identity, race, vulnerability, and grief,” Mike Homer, partner and senior director at David Kordansky Gallery said in a statement.

“Ambitious projects like Fly Away, a live puppet show experience, reveal an artist fearless in his pursuit to evolve and push his practice into new dimensions. We are honored to support his singular vision.”

David Kordansky represents more than 40 artists, including Fred Eversley, Sam Gilliam, Lauren Halsey, Rashid Johnson, Deana Lawson, and Adam Pendleton.

The gallery will present a new painting by Fordjour in a One-on-One online exhibition on its website in April 2021. Fordjour’s first solo exhibition with David Kordansky will open in spring 2022. CT

 

IMAGE: Derek Fordjour. | Photo by Freddie L. Rankin II

 

FIND MORE about Derek Fordjour and his work on the gallery’s website

 


DEREK FORDJOUR, “Left Toe Point,” 2019 (acrylic, charcoal, oil pastel, and foil on newspaper mounted on canvas, 82 x 42 inches). | Courtesy Derek Fordjour and David Kordansky Gallery

 


DEREK FORDJOUR, “Pall Bearers,” 2020 (acrylic, charcoal, cardboard, oil pastel, and foil on newspaper mounted on canvas, Framed: 102 1/4 x 74 1/4 inches). | Courtesy Derek Fordjour and David Kordansky Gallery

 
    According to The New York Times: “’Pall Bearers’ is inspired by the lavish funeral given George Floyd in Houston. Struck by Mr. Floyd’s gold-finished casket, Mr. Fordjour researched recipients of similar gold coffins and found that they included Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

    “The painting presents men in top hats, in a flattened perspective that conveys rhythm and immediacy. “But the casket is probably the subject of the painting,” he said. “A man commemorated in a gold casket, contrasting so sharply with the way his life ended.”

     


DEREK FORDJOUR, “Burden Cycle II,” 2019 (wood, dirt, hand-blown glass, steel, iron, lightbulbs, and electric motor, 92 x 24 x 30 inches). | Courtesy Derek Fordjour and David Kordansky Gallery

 


DEREK FORDJOUR, “STRWMAN,” 2020 (acrylic, charcoal, cardboard, oil pastel, and foil on newspaper mounted on canvas, Framed: 87 1/4 x 67 1/4 inches). | Courtesy Derek Fordjour and David Kordansky Gallery

 


Derek Fordjour’s talks about his creative process and documents the fabrication of the shelter space where his Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis show was presented. | Video by CAM St. Louis

 

DISCLOSURE: Derek Fordjour is among the generous supporters who have made donations to Culture Type. Contributions do not influence or dictate editorial coverage or content.

 

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