Charles Gaines, Adam Pendleton et al.

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America (group show)
New Museum, New York
17 February – 6 June 2021

Installation view: Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, New Museum, New York, 2021, photo: Dario Lasagni
Installation view: Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, New Museum, New York, 2021, photo: Dario Lasagni

The New Museum is proud to announce “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” an exhibition originally conceived by Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) for the New Museum, and presented with curatorial support from advisors Naomi Beckwith, Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, and Mark Nash. On view from January 27 to June 6, 2021, “Grief and Grievance” will be an intergenerational exhibition, bringing together thirty-seven artists working in a variety of mediums who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The exhibition further considers the intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life. Included in “Grief and Grievance” are works encompassing video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance made in the last decade, along with several key historical works and a series of new commissions created in response to the concept of the exhibition.

New Museum


Charles Gaines

Dia Beacon, Beacon (solo show)
19 February 2021 – 5 February 2023

Charles Gaines, Shadow IX, Set 3, 1980, © Charles Gaines, photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy of the artist
Charles Gaines, Shadow IX, Set 3, 1980, © Charles Gaines, photo: Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy of the artist

Charles Gaines has been interrogating the way meaning is constructed through lyrical, system-based work since the 1970s, when he began incorporating the grid as a central formal device in his work. A key figure in the development of Conceptual art, the artist analyzes, overlaps, and juxtaposes different systems of representation—mathematical, photographic, linguistic, notational—in order to reveal individual fallacies and collective poignancy. This focused, collection-based survey follows Dia’s recent acquisition of a body of work by Gaines. The exhibition brings the artist’s first mathematically determined grid drawings and early experiments with transcribing photographic images into numerical notations together with more recent investigations into how image, identity, and language are represented and deconstructed.

Gaines began incorporating the grid into his work—an important formal device in modern art movements such as Minimalism—in the early 1970s. In conversation with artists who he first encountered in New York City, such as Hanne Darboven and Sol LeWitt (with whom he developed a close friendship), Gaines began using serial calculations and systematic procedures to create work that at once resists subjective expression and cultivates ambiguity. As the artist explains, “I looked for tropes, like mathematics, that do not privilege the creative unconscious. Through ‘systems’ I could go where the imagination couldn’t and bring things that otherwise would not be thought about to light. Out of this I began using the grid.”

Gaines’s first grid works, the Regression series, consists of four groups of seven drawings each determined by a set of mathematical combinations whose values are transcribed onto grids and recalibrated into abstract shapes. A cascading computational system of numbers generates the works and produces forms that sequentially expand and contract like waves. Abstraction and order converge in these drawings, which prefigure the artist’s later interests in speech and sound. Taking Regression: Drawings #1–7, Group #2 (recently acquired by Dia) as its point of departure, this exhibition explores the complex production of meaning that emerges in Gaines’s metonymical practice.

Alongside the Regressions, Dia will present selections from Gaines’s Walnut Tree Orchard, Faces, and Shadows series. In the wake of Gaines’s first experimentations with the grid, these works use color-coded numerical extrapolations of photographs that are layered into gridded drawings. What begins as indexical mapping crescendos into an abstraction, which belies the technical precision and presumed objectivity of the photographic form and creates space for multiple representational structures to exist at once.

Since the early 2000s, Gaines’s practice has come to encompass sculpture, video, sound, and performance. He continues to probe the liminal space that emerges from the juxtaposition of different structures of meaning, particularly music and language. However, these newer works reveal an increased and explicit preoccupation with the complex relationship between aesthetics and social justice. Dia’s exhibition will include a work from Gaines’s Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokeley Carmichael series, which plots the text of a Carmichael speech over the score for de Falla’s tragic opera La vida breve (1904–05). Black Ghost Blues Redux (2008), a video work made by Gaines in collaboration with Hoyun Son, will be accessible on Dia’s website throughout the run of the exhibition.

Dia Beacon

Charles Gaines

A brush with... Charles Gaines (podcast)

Charles Gaines, photo: Holger Niehaus
Charles Gaines, photo: Holger Niehaus

In the latest episode, from the second series of the podcast, "A brush with...", Charles Gaines talks to The Art Newspaper about his influences, cultural experiences and how they have affected his life and work. Gaines discusses the impact of visiting the Metropolitan Museum's collection of African art during a period in which he "completely rethought who [he] was, not only as a person but as a Black person in America".

Listen to the podcast here.

The Art Newspaper

Charles Gaines

New Work: Charles Gaines (solo show)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
6 March – 6 September 2021

Image: Charles Gaines, Sky Box I, 2011, © Charles Gaines, photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist
Image: Charles Gaines, Sky Box I, 2011, © Charles Gaines, photo: Robert Wedemeyer, courtesy of the artist

New Work: Charles Gaines presents Manifestos 4 (2020), an installation comprising four drawings, two videos, and a musical composition for sextet as well as Skybox 2 (2020), an immersive experience of text and the unknown. The conceptual artist’s new works emerge from research into the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, which decreed that Black people were not U.S. citizens and therefore could not sue for their right to freedom. Many believe the ruling, one of the most controversial decisions of the Supreme Court, authorized racism and has left an indelible stain on the foundation of this country. In his charged return to this historical court ruling and its trial documents, Gaines disarms these texts by subjecting them to his rules-based methodologies, disrupting our understanding of rational information and the realm of the sublime.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Adam Pendleton

US/U.S., 2020 featured on the cover of Artforum, October/November 2020 issue

Image: Adam Pendleton, US/U.S., 2020, spray painting on paper, © Adam Pendleton
Image: Adam Pendleton, US/U.S., 2020, spray painting on paper, © Adam Pendleton

Adam Pendleton is featured on the cover of Artforum October / November 2020 issue, as part of "Projects: Art of the Possible".

"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 are waiting to see whether Election Day 2020 will mark an end to the hallucinatory nightmare of Donald Trump's presidency; whether it will constitute a victory of a setback for the white supremacists who enabled him to rise; whether the reactionary violence against Black Lives Matter protesters and other enemies of the regime will effloresce into civil war. We are waiting to see if the unimaginable occurs. But if we are to truly move beyond this presidency and all the forms of violence and injustice that made it possible, we must change in ways that, while positive and necessary, are almost equally far-fetched. "

In a recent interview with Artforum, Adam Pendleton speaks about his work US/U.S., 2020, discussing also his use of spray paint. Watch the video by clicking here.


Adam Pendleton

"I Voted" sticker for the 26 October issue of New York Magazine

© Adam Pendleton
© Adam Pendleton

48 artists including Adam Pendleton have designed special "I Voted" stickers for four different covers of the October 26 issue of New York Magazine.

The idea was initiated by New York Magazine and nonpartisan organization "I am a voter" to encourage people to engage in the mail-in and early voting for 2020 US Presidential Election. The stickers will be distributed along with the issue, and also be available at book-stores, museums, non-profit organisations, and official polling sites across the country.

New York Magazine

Adam Pendleton

Who Is Queen? (solo show)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
11 September 2021 – 2 January 2022

Images from L/R:
Images from L/R: "Poor People’s Campaign", Resurrection City, June 25, 1968. AP/ Bob Daugherty; Adam Pendleton, "Untitled (Who is Queen)", 2019; Adam Pendleton, "Queen" (detail), 2020

The Museum of Modern Art will present Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?, a large-scale multimedia installation that will be on view in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Based in New York, Adam Pendleton (American, born 1984) is a Conceptual artist who uses historical and aesthetic content from visual culture to explore the ways in which context influences meaning. Pendleton reconfigures words, forms, and images to provoke critical questioning.

For this presentation, Pendleton’s monumental installation will bring the formal mechanics of musical counterpoint—the folding and unfolding of simultaneous voices—into contact with the aesthetics of protest. For the duration of the exhibition, MoMA’s Marron Atrium will be transformed into an arena encompassed by three wooden, floor-to-ceiling vertical scaffolds. These modular systems, built from four basic units, will be designed to resemble balloon framing used in American house construction.

The Museum of Modern Art