Derek Fordjour was born in 1974 in Memphis, Tennessee to parents of Ghanaian heritage. He earned a BA at Morehouse College before receiving an MEd in Arts Education at Harvard University and an MFA in painting at Hunter College. He was recently appointed the Alex Katz Chair at Cooper Union and serves as a Core Critic at the Yale School of Art. He was named the 2016 Sugarhill Museum Artist-in-Residence and the 2018 Deutsche Bank NYFA Fellow.
Recently one-person exhibitions were held at the Pond Society, Shanghai; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and Petzel Gallery, New York. His work is included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum; Dallas Museum of Art; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum Miami; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York; and Whitney Museum, New York among others. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York commissioned Fordjour to create a series of mosaics for Manhattan’s 145th Street subway station which were unveiled in 2018
“The process of painting is at once humble and intricate; he covers a canvas or wood board with cardboard tiles, foil and other materials, and wraps it in newspaper (always The Financial Times, for its warm, salmon hue). The process repeats several times, with Mr. Fordjour applying washes of paint, then tearing and carving the accumulating surface as he goes.”
Siddhartha Mitter, “Derek Fordjour, From Anguish to Transcendence,” The New York Times, November 19, 2020
Behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Derek Fordjour's "SELF MUST DIE" exhibition and "Fly Away" puppetry performance, on view from November 12 - December 19, 2020 at Petzel.