Artist Terry Adkins. Photo courtesy of Tom Snelgrove.

When art dealer Dominique Lévy first saw the work of American artist Terry Adkins a few years ago at Art Basel in Miami Beach, she was immediately intrigued. “As a collector, I was drawn to the work itself, the object, and his connection to multidisciplinary practice, especially poetry and music,” Lévy told artnet News.

The work was on view at the booth of friend and fellow art dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn of Salon 94. At the time, she knew nothing about the artist, but “Jeanne took me through the journey of who he is and what his work is about.”

The artist, who became known for his fusion of sculpture, performance, and music, died suddenly of heart failure in early 2014. Aware of the dealer’s interest in the artist, the Adkins estate approached Lévy last year to see if she—and her gallery, Lévy Gorvy—might be interested in working together, the dealer says. Now, Lévy will represent the estate.

Terry Adkins’s Native Son (circus) (2006–2015). Courtesy of the Estate of Terry Adkins and Salon 94, New York ©The Estate of Terry Adkins

The gallery is planning a major show of the artist’s work, “Terry Adkins: The Smooth, The Cut and The Assembled,” in New York in January. Adkins’s friend and artistic collaborator Charles Gaines will serve as a guest curator.

“It’s funny sometimes how things come together in the most unexpected way,” Lévy said. “In talking further to Jeanne with Salon 94, we embraced the idea immediately.”

Rohatyn confirmed to artnet News that she will also continue to work with the estate, adding: “I look forward to collaborating with the estate and Lévy Gorvy.”

Lévy Gorvy is often associated with 20th-century European figures, such as Germaine Richier, Enrico Castellani, and Pierre Soulages. But the gallery has been stretching outside its comfort zone in recent months, adding bad-boy painter Dan Colen to its roster and now, multidisciplinary pioneer Adkins.

Lévy believes Adkins will blend right in. His work “fits so perfectly with the ethos of the gallery, which fosters scholarship and research on the interrelations between sculpture, painting, music, and poetry,” she said.

Indeed, when she went to the artist’s home to visit with his widow, Merele Williams-Adkins, she was struck to find that “the artist he was most connected to was Yves Klein,” whose estate Lévy Gorvy also represents.

Terry Adkins’s Shenandoah (1998). Courtesy of the Estate of Terry Adkins and Salon 94, New York ©The Estate of Terry Adkins

Adkins was born in Washington, DC, in 1953. He was inspired by his musical family and took up various instruments including guitar, flute, bass violin, and violin, but always maintained an affinity for visual arts. At Fisk University in Nashville, he studied under artists including Martin Puryear and Carlton Moss.

The artist’s work was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial and the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. A few months ago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted an exhibition commemorating his performances with the Lone Wolf Recital Corps (“Projects 107: Lone Wolf Recital Corps“).

“My quest has been to find a way to make music as physical as sculpture might be, and sculpture as ethereal as music is,” the artist once said. “It’s kind of challenging to make both of those pursuits do what they are normally not able to do.”


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.