Cliff Huxtable went to Hillman University; as did his father before him, his wife Claire and his daughter Denise on The Cosby Show and it’s spin-off A Different World. Now Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams is using the fictional Hillman University and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey as inspiration for his new exhibition “Hillman U: A Dream Deferred; A Dream Fulfilled.”
On display at The Proposition gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side starting Oct. 5, the exhibition is described as a ” . . . pop up featuring a collection of wearable pieces by multidisciplinary visual artist Derrick Adams set in a responsive display environment by industrial designer Michael Chuapoco.” The work reflects the reemergence of a Garvey-influenced, Pan Africanist identity and iconography in the black community in the ’80s and ’90s correlating it with the rise of urban clothing brands like Cross Colours and FUBU.
In Bill Cosby’s imagination Hillman University, was a historically black college comparable to Morehouse College or Howard University. Education at this institution was inspirational, fun and challenging. Adams’ “Hillman U” re-imagines the school as a real institution with school mementos like buttons, pennants, fitted caps, and other apparel associated with university merchandise and marketing as well as items that reference that era’s New York street culture and Brooklyn’s Decepticons crew.
Eat your heart out Gordon Gartrell.