“What can I reveal that has not been shown?” the artist Derrick Adams asks. “Black people—not entertaining, just being, living. Letting people deal with that as reality.” In his paintings and installations, Adams celebrates moments of everyday Black life and explores how popular culture permeates contemporary reality. The starting points for these paintings are two popular classics of 1990s Black cinema, Juice and Set It Off.
These works imagine a moment in the 1990s in which drivers pass by billboards for the films in distinctly late-20th-century models of then-futuristic cars (a DeLorean and a Nissan 300ZX). Gazes ricochet across the paintings: one passenger peers out at us as we pass by on the street, while a driver looks into the eyes of the towering face pictured on the billboard ahead. The joys of cruising in a car, of seeing and being seen, and of being in a world of one’s own making, however momentary, pulse through the works.
Established in 2008, the Modern Window is a series of site-specific installations by contemporary artists commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art to engage with the architecture of the window of the Modern restaurant on West 53rd Street.
Organized by Lanka Tattersall, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints.