Spanning painting, performance, video and writing, Adam Pendleton's (b. 1984) practice is profoundly eclectic and critical. The artist engages with problematics inherent to mechanisms of representation, delving into language, abstraction and the notion of “blackness”. Working predominantly in black and white, Pendleton unpicks and deconstructs dominant historical, political, socio-cultural and aesthetic discourses, putting forward alternative narratives. Within his own concept of "Black Dada", the artist investigates the past in order to “imagine alternate presents”. Relying on appropriation, Pendleton creates works merge references ranging from Dadaism to the Black Arts Movement.
"Pendleton is a rare artist in his ability to synthesise disciplines and mediums, and to steer with collaborators towards “total works,” which yet remain drafts of a larger essayistic practice. His works—like those of his many avant-garde forebears—are experimental in the truest sense. He sets up a laboratory in which our social and political desires can appear, however fleetingly. Historical materials (images, sounds, and printed language) become a point of departure for making present what cannot be grasped by representations of history (narratives, archives): the emergence of events and situations, which can only become known retroactively. Recent live art has rarely been more conscious of its origins in civil disobedience and the civil rights movement, where we view the body as a site of social antagonism, and as a “case” for struggles for recognition and justice. With Pendleton’s work, even though we are often left with aporias and blind spots, we feel the force of historical matter self-organizing and finding form beyond representability and essence. We discover the protest of the object—works of art and performance resisting their subsumption by common epistemological frameworks and modes of narration posing as truth."
T. Donovan, 'Adam Pendleton‘, in BOMB Magazine, 2011
Image: Untitled (After Julius Eastman), 2019, silkscreen ink and spray paint on canvas, 91.4 x 71.1 cm.; 36 x 28 in.
Selected Institutional Exhibitions
US/U.S., 2020 featured on the cover of Artforum, October/November 2020 issue
"For this election issue, Artforum asked nine artists to contribute projects reflecting on a moment that requires us to think the unthinkable. As of this writing, we ...
Adam Pendleton – Signed Edition (publication)
Adam Pendleton's original and powerful body of work has been described as the embodiment of a new era. His multifaceted projects, which ...
"I Voted" sticker for the 26 October issue of New York Magazine
Adam Pendleton et al.
To Be Determined (group show)
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas
27 September – 27 December 2020
Who Is Queen? (solo show)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
11 September 2021 – 2 January 2022
Urs Fischer, Adam Pendleton et al.
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (group show)
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
17 December 2019 – 26 December 2020
This small-scale group exhibition borrows its name from the title of Italo Calvino’s novel, published in 1979, towards the end of the ...