Patrick Kelly, The Journey
SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, Atlanta
January 14 – July 19, 2020
The Savannah College of Art and Design presents “Patrick Kelly, The Journey”, an exhibition of work by multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams, now on view through July 19, 2020, at the globally renowned SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta. Adams is a Brooklyn-based artist who works in painting and sculpture as well as performance, video, and sound. His work focuses on the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, exploring the shape-shifting forces of popular culture on self-image.
“Patrick Kelly, The Journey” emerges from Adams’ extensive exploration into the archive of the late African-American fashion designer Patrick Kelly (1954-90). 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.
Kelly spent several formative years in Atlanta in the 1970s, and the exhibition highlights his connection to the city through a selection of his original pieces and memorabilia loaned by his friend Carol Martin, an Atlanta resident and former model. “I admired Patrick’s tenacity to get his name out there, back in the day, before clothing lines were even called brands,” recalled Martin. “I was mesmerized by how he would make something you thought wouldn’t work, but it would always work. This exhibition validates that it’s okay to think outside of the box. That’s what Patrick did.”
“Patrick Kelly, The Journey“ is curated by Alexandra Sachs, executive director of SCAD FASH and Atlanta exhibitions. It is presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2020, the university’s annual program of exhibitions, lectures, and performances held Feb. 18–20 at university locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. Adams is a close friend of SCAD and was the featured lecturer at deFINE ART 2019. The artist is also a contributor to the upcoming exhibition catalog “Jacob Lawrence: Lines of Influence”, published by the university, which will be released in February 2020.
“Patrick Kelly, The Journey” embodies the university’s ongoing mission to celebrate the work of black artists. In recent years, exhibitions at SCAD FASH and the SCAD Museum of Art have featured work by artists including Fred Wilson, Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Jacob Lawrence, Lorraine O’Grady, Radcliffe Bailey, André 3000, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Stephen Burrows.