Cey Adams. Departure: 40 Years of Art And Design

By way of highlighting the talents of a creative class who often work behind the scenes, a new exhibition mounted at Boston University Art Galleries puts one creator in the graffiti and Hip Hop story on center stage.

CEY ADAMS, DEPARTURE: 40 Years of Art and Design, curated by Liza Quiñonez, features original artworks and archives from an artist who helped put some of the greatest artists of the age on the turntable, screen, and streets with his design eye and ability to be a step ahead of the curve stylistically.

The founding Creative Director for Def Jam, he created some of the iconic imagery that brought you the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige, among others. A Queens, NY, native running the streets as a teen in the 70s and 80s, Adams was also a graffiti writer – giving him a strong sense of the street aesthetic that would reverberate in commercial design as well. He parlayed his talents into the commercial realm of hip hop just as it was taking off, capturing the zeitgeist of that moment.

Cey Adams (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now after a storied career, he’s collaborating with some of the documentarians of the age like Martha Cooper, Janette Beckman, Ricky Powell, & Robert Bredvad on newer works, some of them instantly re-classic. The press release calls Adams a “visionary artist, a cultural pioneer, and an innovative designer.” The show opens on October 4th and runs through December 11.
Here we show you some more recent works Adams has on the streets in the last few years.

Cey Adams. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cey Adams. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cey Adams. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cey Adams at work Detroit, 2016. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Cey Adams. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cey Adams. (photo © Courtesy of Street Theory Gallery)

OCTOBER 4 – DECEMBER 11855 Commonwealth Ave Boston, MA  CEY ADAMS, DEPARTURE: 40 Years of Art and Design.