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TRIBUTARIES, 1995
DENNIS ADAMS, born in 1948
PLEXIGLASS, STEEL, STAINLESS, PHOTOGRAPH, (12) 82-1/2" X 42" X 19"

Some thirty years after the height of the civil rights movement, under the Percent for Art Program, artist Dennis Adams created a piece to ensure that seminal events of this grassroots struggle remained fresh in students’ minds.  Placed in niches above every water fountain, Tributaries makes the simple act of drinking from a water fountain a reflective experience.  Twelve photographs in lightboxes capture stills from Eye on the Prize, the award-winning documentary about the fight for black equality.  Adams’s blurry video-based images are antimonumental and purposefully cryptic.  Lines of text referencing names and places of the period overlay the photographs, legible only when one turns to drink.  Images show the aftermath of the March on Washington, of an African American girl holding the hand of a U.S. Marshall and taking her first steps into a school in Little Rock, Arkansas, and of a segregated lunch counter in Birmingham, Alabama.  In a recent interview, Adams explained his choice of subject matter: “For me, the civil rights movement was the defining moment of my generation…I can’t imagine a subject more appropriate to every student.”

DRINKING FOUNT
14-30 BROADWAY, QUEENS, NY

Schools in building:
Long Island City High School
P.S. Q993

Find related art work:
Theme
CIVIL RIGHTS
HISTORY

Time Period
Reshaping Schools: Improved Design and Percent for Art

Artist
DENNIS ADAMS