new-york

Derrick Alexis Coard, Let My Hair Grow, 2013, graphite and pastel on paper, 18 × 24".

Derrick Alexis Coard

White Columns

Derrick Alexis Coard, Let My Hair Grow, 2013, graphite and pastel on paper, 18 × 24".

“My work is a form of testimonial where black men can be seen in a more positive and righteous light.” So says Derrick Alexis Coard, a Brooklyn artist who since 2006 has been affiliated with Healing Arts Initiative (HAI), a New York–based agency that works with artists who suffer from mental illness or developmental disability, or who are of advanced age. Coard’s use of the word righteous reveals his spiritual leanings, as does his account of discovering that “the bearded look is the image God favored when speaking through Moses.” The artist began making drawings of imaginary bearded black men in his teens, and his recent exhibition at White Columns—which has collaborated with HAI on a number of previous occasions—featured a selection of such works from the past fourteen years.

While a renewed focus on the United States’ deep-seated institutional racism in the wake of

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2015 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.