Derrick Adams Explores the Influential Career of African-American Fashion Designer, Patrick Kelly @ SCAD FASH
It's incredible powerful to watch an evolving voice in art gain more and more confidence and cultural influence. Over the past half-decade or so, we have seen Derrick Adams become more than just a painter or studio artist, but someone with an overall vision of historical trends and connections to contemporary creativitiy in Black culture. This particular showcase, Patrick Kelly, The Journey, on view at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, has, as noted, emerged "from artist Derrick Adams’ extensive exploration into the archive of the influential African-American fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954–90)."
From the museum: "A prolific and groundbreaking artist, Kelly was famously the first American to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter, the prestigious governing body of the French ready-to-wear industry. Adams immersed himself in the Kelly archive at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, where he discovered a trove of correspondence, sketches, swatches, photographs, and other memorabilia. The archive also included a proposal for a book about Kelly’s life written by his friend, the esteemed poet Maya Angelou, who delivered the address and received an honorary degree at SCAD Commencement in 1998. Adams’ works reference Kelly’s legacy as a formalist who infused social context and humor into his creations. The exhibition presents Adams’ large-scale abstract collages and sculptural works that incorporate Kelly’s vintage clothing patterns, iconic fabrics, bold colors, geometric forms, and embellishments."
The exhibition is a fasinating look at Adams' process as an artist. You begin to see how Adams arranges patterns, form and collage elements in his work. Even if we have seen his vision in performance works and installations in the past, and spoke with Derrick extensively in our cover story with him in Fall 2019, but this is a clearer visual experience that is exciting to see come to life. Like so many great curators in both art and music right now, we are beginning to see new historical looks at past overlooked groundbreaking artists. That someone of Adams clout is looking back and re-examining such a pivotal designer in Kelly, it helps us understand who we are, what we have seen and where we are going. —Evan Pricco