Magus and Adnachiel

Terry Adkins (1953—2014) Magus and Adnachiel, 1988 Wood and pigment 38 3/4 × 7 × 11 1/4 in., 40 × 5 × 15 3/4 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Nina and Frank Moore, New York 2002.3.1 An interdisciplinary artist who incorporated a vast knowledge of history and mysticism in his work, Terry Adkins presented modern perspectives on the legacies of culturally significant figures. In Magus and Adnachiel, the oblong shapes represent two individuals in conversation. Magus is either one of the three biblical wise men or a sorcerer of the dark arts, while Adnachiel is a guardian angel mentioned in astrological texts. The sculpture’s contrasting colors bring to mind the diverging narratives of dark and light that are associated with the two figures.