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“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

Derrick Adams Celebrates Blackness and Play with Funtime Unicorns

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The Art Production Fund and Rockefeller Center present “Funtime Unicorns,” an interactive sculpture show by New York-based visual artist Derrick Adams set in Channel Gardens and on view through September 9. Adams’s multi-disciplinary art practice has always centered the Black experience through a lens of pop culture, self-image, and humanity, and this newest show—being the debut production of his venture Derrick Adams Editions—invests this idea of Blackness with a mythical, colorful, and playful dimension in an urban setting. In the words of Casey Fremont, Executive Director of the Art Production Fund, “This joyous installation offers visitors the opportunity to participate in art in a unique way, which brings children together for a shared experience combining public art and playful fun.”

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.


“Funtime Unicorns” continues the iconic imagery of the artist’s “Floater” series, which comprises a series of portraits showing Black people in rest, relaxation, and play atop a plastic pool float, and even featuring a Black Unicorn figure which reappears in this new show as a life-sized inflatable float. This exhibition is a strong and cheerful affirmation that Black joy and play should be normalized in popular visual culture. Adams, speaking on the installation, said, “In each one of these sculptures, my hope is that young Black boys and girls have a chance to laugh and bounce, climb and lean. This is a place to make new friends – who are just as magical and colorful and who represent a more imaginative future for all of us.”

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

“Funtime Unicorns,” installation view, 2022, Derrick Adams; photo by Emil Horowitz.

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Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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Derrick Adams discusses The Last Resort Artist Retreat, its mission of offering space for artists to gather, and new initiatives like the Black Baltimore Digital Database.

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