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Biography

Terry Adkins (1953–2014, b. Washington, D.C., d. Brooklyn, NY) was a sculptor, musician, filmmaker, printmaker, and orchestrator of installations and experiences. A thoughtful and rigorous artist and teacher, his work remains hugely influential and widely acclaimed. Adkins grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and studied printmaking before receiving an MFA in sculpture from the University of Kentucky, Lexington. One-person exhibitions of Adkins’ work include Recital at the Frances Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, NY, that travelled to the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, IL (2012); an exhibition of video art at the University Galleries at Illinois State University (2016); a restaging of performances by the Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Adkins’ revolving collective, at the Museum of Modern Art, NY (2016); Infinity is Always Less Than One at the ICA Miami (2018); Resounding at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (2020); and shows at the Fisk University and the Frist Museum in Nashville (2020). Adkins was included in the Performa Biennial in 2013, the Whitney Biennial in 2014 and the Venice Biennale in 2015. Work by Adkins is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, in New York; The Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts San Francisco; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Tate Collection, UK, among others, and private collections worldwide. From 2000 until his death, Adkins was a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Studio view, 1987, Projekt Binz 39, Zurich, Switzerland.

Studio view, Projekt Binz 39, Zurich, Switzerland, 1987. 

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Terry Adkins Smoke Stack (Towering Steep), 2003  copper, aluminum, tar 16 1/2 x 30 x 30 in. Photo: Virginia Harold, courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

Terry Adkins
Smoke Stack (Towering Steep), 2003 
copper, aluminum, tar
16 1/2 x 30 x 30 in. (41.9 x 76.2 x 76.2 cm)
Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Installation view of Synapse (from Black Beethoven) (2004-2012) in Terry Adkins: Soldier Shepherd Prophet Martyr: Videos from 1998-2013, University Galleries of Illinois State University, February 24 - April 3, 2016. Photo: Jason Judd.

Installation view of Synapse (from Black Beethoven) (2004-2012) in Terry Adkins: Soldier Shepherd Prophet Martyr: Videos from 1998-2013, University Galleries of Illinois State University, 2016. Photo: Jason Judd.

Terry Adkins Buffet Flat (from Belted Bronze), 2007-08 silver bowls and utensils, glass marbles, leather case, honey, nylon single-sided flags, taxidermy birds, sewing machine table, instrument stnd, inkjet printer, parachute, blown glass 180 x 220 x 48 in. Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, \ Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018 Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Terry Adkins
Buffet Flat (from Belted Bronze), 2007-08
silver bowls and utensils, glass marbles, leather case, honey, nylon single-sided flags, taxidermy birds, sewing machine table, instrument stand, inkjet printer, parachute, blown glass
180 x 220 x 48 in. (457.2 x 558.8 x 121.9 cm)
Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

 

Terry Adkins Smoke Signal (from the Principalities), 2012 concrete, metal, plastic, leather 162 x 22 x 20 in. Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Terry Adkins
Smoke Signal (from the Principalities), 2012
concrete, metal, plastic, leather
162 x 22 x 20 in.
Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Terry Adkins
Audience (from Belted Bronze) (detail), 2007-08
28 framed drawings, peacock, plastic milk crates
198 x 98 x 79 in. (502.9 x 248.9 x 200.6 cm)
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

 

Terry Adkins Mute (from the Belted Bronze), 2007-2011 digital black-and-white video, silent 22 min. 7 sec.

Terry Adkins
Mute (from the Belted Bronze), 2007-2011
digital black-and-white video, silent
22 min. 7 sec.

Terry Adkins Spears with 3 Prints (detail), 2010 23 metal and wood spears, replicas, 3 framed black-and-white prints dimensions variable

Terry Adkins
Spears with 3 Prints (detail), 2010
23 metal and wood spears, replicas, 3 framed black-and-white prints
dimensions variable

Installation view, Terry Adkins Recital, 2012. Courtesy of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Photo: Arthur Evans.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Recital, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2012. Photo: Arthur Evans.

Terry Adkins Miy Paluk 1866, 2012 single-channel digital video with sound (originally presented as a three-channel video on vertical flat-screen monitors) 24:26 minutes

Terry Adkins
Miy Paluk 1866 (still), 2012
single-channel digital video with sound (originally presented as a three-channel video on vertical flat-screen monitors)
24:26 minutes

Installation view of Aviarium (2014) in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2014.

 

Installation view, 2014 Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2014. From left to right: Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Dickcissel), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Mourning Dove), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Seaside Sparrow), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Grasshopper Sparrow), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Broad-winged Hawk), 2014. Photo: Bill Orcutt; Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Installation view, Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Robert Gerhardt; Courtesy Museum of Modern Art.

Installation view, Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Robert Gerhardt; Courtesy Museum of Modern Art.

Installation view: "Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One" at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

 

Studio view, 1987, Projekt Binz 39, Zurich, Switzerland.

Studio view, Projekt Binz 39, Zurich, Switzerland, 1987. 

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Terry Adkins Smoke Stack (Towering Steep), 2003  copper, aluminum, tar 16 1/2 x 30 x 30 in. Photo: Virginia Harold, courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

Terry Adkins
Smoke Stack (Towering Steep), 2003 
copper, aluminum, tar
16 1/2 x 30 x 30 in. (41.9 x 76.2 x 76.2 cm)
Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Installation view of Synapse (from Black Beethoven) (2004-2012) in Terry Adkins: Soldier Shepherd Prophet Martyr: Videos from 1998-2013, University Galleries of Illinois State University, February 24 - April 3, 2016. Photo: Jason Judd.

Installation view of Synapse (from Black Beethoven) (2004-2012) in Terry Adkins: Soldier Shepherd Prophet Martyr: Videos from 1998-2013, University Galleries of Illinois State University, 2016. Photo: Jason Judd.

Terry Adkins Buffet Flat (from Belted Bronze), 2007-08 silver bowls and utensils, glass marbles, leather case, honey, nylon single-sided flags, taxidermy birds, sewing machine table, instrument stnd, inkjet printer, parachute, blown glass 180 x 220 x 48 in. Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, \ Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018 Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Terry Adkins
Buffet Flat (from Belted Bronze), 2007-08
silver bowls and utensils, glass marbles, leather case, honey, nylon single-sided flags, taxidermy birds, sewing machine table, instrument stand, inkjet printer, parachute, blown glass
180 x 220 x 48 in. (457.2 x 558.8 x 121.9 cm)
Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

 

Terry Adkins Smoke Signal (from the Principalities), 2012 concrete, metal, plastic, leather 162 x 22 x 20 in. Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Terry Adkins
Smoke Signal (from the Principalities), 2012
concrete, metal, plastic, leather
162 x 22 x 20 in.
Photo: Virginia Harold; Courtesy Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Terry Adkins
Audience (from Belted Bronze) (detail), 2007-08
28 framed drawings, peacock, plastic milk crates
198 x 98 x 79 in. (502.9 x 248.9 x 200.6 cm)
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio
Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2018
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

 

Terry Adkins Mute (from the Belted Bronze), 2007-2011 digital black-and-white video, silent 22 min. 7 sec.

Terry Adkins
Mute (from the Belted Bronze), 2007-2011
digital black-and-white video, silent
22 min. 7 sec.

Terry Adkins Spears with 3 Prints (detail), 2010 23 metal and wood spears, replicas, 3 framed black-and-white prints dimensions variable

Terry Adkins
Spears with 3 Prints (detail), 2010
23 metal and wood spears, replicas, 3 framed black-and-white prints
dimensions variable

Installation view, Terry Adkins Recital, 2012. Courtesy of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Photo: Arthur Evans.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Recital, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2012. Photo: Arthur Evans.

Terry Adkins Miy Paluk 1866, 2012 single-channel digital video with sound (originally presented as a three-channel video on vertical flat-screen monitors) 24:26 minutes

Terry Adkins
Miy Paluk 1866 (still), 2012
single-channel digital video with sound (originally presented as a three-channel video on vertical flat-screen monitors)
24:26 minutes

Installation view of Aviarium (2014) in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2014.

 

Installation view, 2014 Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2014. From left to right: Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Dickcissel), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Mourning Dove), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Seaside Sparrow), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Grasshopper Sparrow), 2014; Terry Adkins, Aviarium (Broad-winged Hawk), 2014. Photo: Bill Orcutt; Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Installation view, Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Robert Gerhardt; Courtesy Museum of Modern Art.

Installation view, Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Robert Gerhardt; Courtesy Museum of Modern Art.

Installation view: "Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One" at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

Installation view, Terry Adkins: Infinity Is Always Less Than One, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, May 17 – Sept 23, 2018. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio.

 

Video

Terry Adkins: Recital, 2012. Video courtesy The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.