Artist Derrick Adams brings the playful installation, Funtime Unicorns, to Navy Pier beginning Thursday, April 13 in partnership with Expo Chicago, extending through the end of June in Polk Bros Park.
Each unicorn sculpture in the edition is a manifestation of Adams’ signature iconography – a visual vocabulary of recognizable objects, symbols, bold colors, and shapes, recontextualized to depict leisure in an unprecedented way. There will be four sculptures in the public installation at Navy Pier.
The edition draws from Adams’ Floaters series —a suite of vivid portraits of Black people in various states of rest and play. Seated atop colorful unicorns or candy-shaped plastic floaties popularized in recent years, the figures represent an expanded cultural imagination of a Black lived experience. Funtime Unicorns provides a new way for the audience to engage with the emotions evoked by Adams’ paintings, and an exciting new addition to his series of public artworks.
“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,” Adams said. “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,” – Derrick Adams.
First unveiled to the public with the support of the Art Production Fund at New York’s Rockefeller Center in the summer of 2022, visitors to the installation were able to play on Funtime Unicorns, embodying the experience of joy evoked by Adams’ paintings. Now Navy Pier guests will be offered the same experience.
ABOUT DERRICK ADAMS
Derrick Adams is a Baltimore-born, Brooklyn, New York-based artist whose critically acclaimed work spans painting, collage, sculpture, performance, video, and sound installations. Adams is known for creating art and innovative collaborations with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z and more. His multidisciplinary practice engages the ways in which individuals’ ideals, aspirations, and personas become attached to specific objects, colors, textures, symbols, and ideologies. His work probes the influence of popular culture on the formation of self-image, and the relationship between man and monument as they coexist and embody one another. Adams is also deeply immersed in questions of how African American experiences intersect with art history, American iconography, and consumerism. Adams received his MFA from Columbia University and BFA from Pratt Institute. He is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Studio Program. For more information, visit derrickadams.com.
Derrick Adams, Funtime Unicorns, 2022
Installation view, Rockefeller Center, New York
Photo by Emil Horowitz / courtesy of Art Production Fund