“Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017

 

PAUAL COOPER GALLERY announced its representation of Terry Adkins (1953-2014) on Oct. 18. A conceptual artist and musician, Adkins expressed himself through sculpture, sound, video, and printmaking and approached his work as a composer, developing conversational interplays among objects, installations, and musical performances, which he called “recitals.”

In September, Paula Cooper Gallery featured “Jupiter” (1994), a wood and enamel assemblage work by Adkins at Art Basel. A selection of the artist’s work will be on view at the gallery’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach in December. Next year, Paula Cooper will present the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Adkins in April 2022.

Headquartered in New York, Paula Cooper has a space in Palm Beach, Fla. Thomas Dane Gallery will continue to represent the Adkins estate in Europe.

Adkins developed a singular practice rooted in history, music, and language. He repurposed found objects, reimagined instruments, and described many of his works as “abstract portraiture,” installations and performances that brought visibility to the layered biographies to African American cultural figures such as John Coltrane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Matthew Henson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sojourner Truth.

The artist also founded the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, an evolving collective of musicians and artists that continues to perform in conjunction with the Adkins’s posthumous exhibitions.

Adkins developed a singular practice rooted in history, music, and language. He repurposed found objects, reimagined instruments, and described many of his works as “abstract portraiture,” installations and performances that brought visibility to the layered biographies to African American cultural figures…


Installation view of “Terry Adkins: Recital,” The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 2012. | © 2021 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Arthur Evans, Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

BORN IN WASHINGTON, D.C., Adkins was based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He grew up in Alexandria, Va., and after studying printmaking at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and Illinois State University in Normal, he earned an MFA in sculpture from the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

An artist, musician, and educator, Adkins was an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem (1982-83). A subsequent residency at MoMA PS1 led to a two-year stint in Zurich as part of an exchange program, beginning in 1986. Adkins was in Zurich when he formed the Lone Wolf Recital Corps. A beloved professor, Adkins started teaching at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2000 and remained on the faculty for the rest of his life.

Work by Adkins is represented in major public and private collections and has been exhibited internationally. In 2012, Ian Berry organized “Terry Adkins Recital,” a 30-year retrospective of the artist that opened at the Frances Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and traveled to the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. A couple years later, Adkins was selected to participate in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. He died the month before it opened.

Recognition of Adkins’s work has continued to escalate posthumously. In 2015, Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) included Adkins’s work in the 56th Venice Biennale. The Museum of Modern Art paid tribute to Adkins and the Recital Corps in 2017. “Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps” presented a selection of Adkins’s “sculptures, performance props, and paraphernalia, and documentary videos of recitals.” The exhibition also reunited the Recital Corps for the first time since the artist died. The group staged a series of live performances in conjunction with the exhibition.

 


TERRY ADKINS, “Infinity,” 1972-2014 (Cherokee trunk and John Coltrane “Infinity” albums, 20 x 26 ½ x 13 ½ inches / 50.8 x 67.3 x 34.3 cm). | © 2020 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Alise O’Brien, © Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Alise O’Brien Photography

 

More recently, exhibitions dedicated to Adkins were on view simultaneously at three institutions. “Terry Adkins: Resounding” (2020-21) at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in Saint Louis, Mo., showcased early sculpture by the artist. Fisk University and the Frist Museum in Nashville, Tenn., co-organized “Terry Adkins: Our Sons and Daughters Ever on the Altar” (2020-21), featuring sculptures, prints, installations, and video.

THE ADKINS ESTATE WAS PREVIOUSLY represented by Lévy Gorvy since 2017. The gallery presented “Terry Adkins: The Smooth, The Cut, and The Assembled,” a survey of Adkins in 2018. On view at its New York space, the show was curated by Los Angeles artist Charles Gaines, a friend of Adkins.

At the time, Alexis Johnson was a director and artist liaison at Lévy Gorvy, where she worked with the Adkins estate. Johnson departed Lévy Gorvy earlier this year and rejoined Paula Cooper Gallery, where she previously worked as an associate director, from 2010 to 2016. In April, the gallery named new partners, including Johnson.

Today, Paula Cooper has a roster of 41 artists, Ja’Tovia Gary, Veronica Ryan, and Adkins, among them. In a statement, Johnson said, “It is my profound pleasure to continue collaborating with the Estate of Terry Adkins and to bring the artist’s complex and groundbreaking work to a wider audience.” CT

 

IMAGE: Top, Installation view of “Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, Aug. 19- Oct. 9, 2017. | Photo by Robert Gerhardt, Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, N.Y. © 2021 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 


TERRY ADKINS, Installation view of “Buffet Flat (from Belted Bronze),” 2007-08 (silver bowls and utensils, glass marbles, leather case, honey, nylon single-sided flags, taxidermy birds, sewing machine table, instrument stand, inkjet printer, parachute, blown glass, 180 x 220 x 48 inches), “Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018. | © 2021 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy ICA Miami, and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by Fredrik Nilsen Studio

 


Installation view of “Terry Adkins: Resounding,” Main Gallery, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, Mo. Shown, left, “Muffled Drums,” 2003. | © 2020 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Alise O’Brien, © Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Alise O’Brien Photography

 


Installation view of “Terry Adkins: Resounding,” Cube Gallery, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, Mo. Shown, right, “Methane Sea,” 2013. | © 2020 The Estate of Terry Adkins / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Alise O’Brien, © Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Alise O’Brien Photography

 

BOOKSHELF
The catalog “Terry Adkins: Resounding” was published to accompany the exhibition at The Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Mo. The first career-spanning volume of Adkins, “Terry Adkins: Recital” documents his retrospective organized by the Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery at Skidmore College. Also consider “Terry Adkins: The Smooth, the Cut, and the Assembled” and “Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One.”

 

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