Derrick Alexis Coard

b. 1981 – d. 2017

Born in Brooklyn, New York, 1981

I use bearded Black men as symbolic expression for possible change for the African-American male community...My work is a testimonial that Black men can be seen in a more positive, righteous light.— Derrick Alexis Coard

Artwork

Biography

Portrait of Derrick Alexis Coard

Derrick Alexis Coard (1981-2017) was a Brooklyn-based artist whose works on paper primarily depict sensitively rendered portraits of bearded Black men. Living with schizoaffective disorder, Coard found solace in Christian spirituality, including Biblical tenets surrounding male grooming, producing a signature body of work. Coard once wrote, “I use bearded Black men as symbolic expression for possible change for the African-American male community. Expressing to them that we as a Black male people can be victorious, achieving healing and unity…My work is a testimonial that Black men can be seen in a more positive, righteous light.” Indeed, while Coard’s figures often appear physically strong, their muscular bodies and armor-like hair are offset by soft, vulnerable eyes. Even when the depicted figures eyes are not directly confronting the viewer, if they gaze beyond the page, appear closed or drifting, or obscured by sunglasses, the same calm but stoic spirit is present.

Coard was affiliated with New York’s Healing Arts Initiative (H.A.I.), which worked with differently-abled adult artists and artists with mental illness.

Coard has been the subject of solo exhibitions, including at Delmes & Zander, Cologne (DE) in 2018; and White Columns, New York (NY) in 2014. Group exhibitions include Crip Time at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (DE) in 2021; An Alternative Canon: Art Dealers Collecting Outsider Art at Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York (NY) in 2020; Kinder Gentler Nation at Karma, New York (NY) in 2018; and Parking on Pavement at The School, Kinderhook (NY) in 2018, among others. His work is in the public collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Museum für Moderne Kunst, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

CV