West Chelsea Contemporary (WCC) is thrilled to present Combinations, a solo presentation of new works by renowned New York-based artist Cey Adams. Combinations, on view October 20 – November 19, 2023, is Adams’ most expansive body of work to date, and marks the first time the gallery will feature a single artist in their 7,500+ sq ft space. The exhibition is an amalgamation of Adams’ 40 year career, and brings together his mastery of graffiti, street art, graphic design, painting, and collage to visual storytelling.

“Combinations revisits early ideas and various styles spanning over 40 years of my art making career,” said Cey Adams of his new exhibit. “This current body of work reexamines societal and social structures in America that divide us. The primary goal of my art is to be a bridge that brings people closer together. Over the years I’ve seen how graffiti, street art, and Hip-Hop have created a unified movement with lasting impact on popular culture.” 

Combinations weaves visual narratives of self-expression and storytelling with the historic lens of American Pop Culture. Adams draws inspiration from 60’s pop art, sign painting, comic books, and popular culture including Hip-Hop. He is credited as the architect of Hip-Hop’s visual language through his work as the founding Creative Director of Def Jam Recordings. Adams’ album covers and logo designs contributed to the identity of Hip-Hop legends, including Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige. His iconic designs helped shape one of the most influential cultural genres.

“We are thrilled to present Cey Adams’ show Combinations. Cey is widely known for graffiti, street art, and his work with Hip-Hop artists on Def Jam Recordings. He seamlessly incorporates these elements into his fine art practice, and is a master of storytelling through collage,” said Gary Seals, CEO of West Chelsea Contemporary. “We are excited to celebrate Cey’s illustrious 40 year career with his first solo exhibition in Austin and to commemorate Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary.”

Adams’ work focuses on themes of pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues, and explores the relationship between transformation and discovery. His work challenges us to look beyond societal divisions while inspiring unity and uplifting those who engage with his work. Each piece is crafted with meticulous attention to detail and embodies Adams’ unique vision. His practice involves dismantling various imagery and paper elements to build multiple layers of color, texture, shapes, shadow, and light. 

Combinations features new additions to the Trusted Brands series, where Adams celebrates the craftsmanship and graphic design of brand logos from the 60’s and 70’s. The collection includes mixed media on panel, works on paper and sculpture. The exhibition also includes a new LOVE series on Levi’s denim. It is Adams’ tribute to Levi’s, and a celebration of his long standing relationship with the brand and the150th Anniversary of the 501. 

Featured alongside Adams’ body of work are two legendary documentary photographers who have captured the spirit of Graffiti and Hip-Hop — Martha Cooper and Janette Beckman. To celebrate Combinations, Cey Adams partnered with both Cooper and Beckman to create collaborative limited edition prints alongside WCC Editions and master silkscreen printer Gary Lichtenstein. With a release date of October 20, each of the three prints highlight the evolution of Adams’ artistic journey and will be available for purchase through the gallery’s gift shop online and in person. 

About West Chelsea Contemporary

West Chelsea Contemporary is much more than a typical art gallery. Offering world-class art in a dynamic, interactive setting. WCC produces museum-quality exhibitions year-round with programming that is free and open to the public.

West Chelsea Contemporary’s collection includes artists influential to Pop Art, Street Art, Graffiti, Post-Graffiti and contemporary art as well as taste makers of these movements. With a local, national, and international roster of represented artists, West Chelsea Contemporary situates artwork from the primary market alongside a highly curated selection of pieces from the secondary market. This novel display of represented, emerging and mid-career artists alongside Blue Chip masters increases each artist’s exposure and serves to make connections between their work.

For more information, please visit wcc.art or @wcc.art on Instagram.

Exhibition – COMBINATIONS 

Dates – October 21 – November 19, 2023 

Location – West Chelsea Contemporary Gallery 1009 West 6th Street Austin, TX 78703
Gallery Hours – Monday – Thursday: 10 AM – 6 PM Friday:10 AM – 8 PM  Saturday: 10 AM – 6 PM Sunday:12 PM – 6 PM