Image rights: Photograph by JeffElstone © Estate of Terry Adkins Courtesy of The Estate of Terry Adkins and Salon 94, New York
About Terry Adkins
A musician and multimedia artist, Terry Adkins explores the lives of historical figures that he considers to be underappreciated, or those he calls “Immortals”—typically African American cultural figures—producing sculptural works and assemblages that refer to their biographies. His subjects have run the gamut from civil rights leaders to musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Ludwig van Beethoven, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the abolitionist John Brown, whose contributions to history Adkins believes deserve more attention. His installations, which he conceives of as “recitals” or musical scores, have included repurposed objects, blown glass, and wood, and they frequently include interactive performances. In his “Black Beethoven” series, a group of sound sculptures, Adkins explores the myth of Beethoven being black, while more recently he has examined the biographies of George Washington Carver and Yves Klein, finding surprising points of comparison between the two.