Adam Pendleton

Who Is Queen? (solo show)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
18 September 2021 – 21 February 2022

Installation view: MoMA, New York, 2021, photo: Andy Romer
Installation view: MoMA, New York, 2021, photo: Andy Romer

Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen? transforms MoMA’s Marron Family Atrium into a dynamic arena exploring Blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde. In his monumental floor-to-ceiling installation, Adam Pendleton has created a spatial collage of text, image, and sound—a total work of art for the 21st century.

Who Is Queen? is anchored by three five-story black scaffold towers that resemble the balloon framing typical of American homes and that serve as supports for paintings, drawings, a textile work, sculptures, moving images, and a sound piece. In the paintings, Pendleton creates layered fields of unresolved text and gestural marks, built up from spray-painted and brushed originals that have been photographed, photocopied, and enlarged for screenprinting. The drawings feature sketches and visual “notes,” and, at times, reproductions from the artist’s library of books. Pendleton’s visual language challenges legibility, continuously writing and overwriting itself.

Pendleton’s latest video portrait, So We Moved: A Portrait of Jack Halberstam screens at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. daily, alternating with two moving-image works that function as notes on the embattled Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, and Resurrection City, a 1968 ad-hoc city set up on the national mall in Washington, DC. Resurrection City has played an influential role in Pendleton’s wider investigation of alternative structures and social formations. Finally, a sound collage anchored by a reading by the poet Amiri Baraka, a recording by composer Hahn Rowe, and a recording of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Manhattan is interwoven with musical fragments from a range of composers and musicians. Dialogues organized by Pendleton featuring pairs of artists, writers, and thinkers will be released online monthly, and incorporated into the sound installation, which shifts and changes over the course of the exhibition.

Challenging the traditional role of the museum as a repository for a fixed history, Who Is Queen? collages multiple voices and cultural touch points to generate new relationships between traditionally incommensurable subjects. As the artist states, the work “is not black or white. It articulates the ways in which we simultaneously possess and are possessed by contradictory ideals and ideas.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue edited by Adam Pendleton and Alec Mapes-Frances. Serving as a primer and a handbook, this reader includes photocopies of texts that have been critical in Pendleton’s practice, with the work of such disparate figures as Glenn Gould, Michael Hardt, and Ruby Sales, alongside images of Resurrection City and Pendleton’s own drawings. The texts pick up and elaborate on the exhibition’s themes: the idea of the museum as a repository for meaning and the influence that mass movements can have on the exhibition as form. This catalogue is available on the MoMA design store.

The Museum of Modern Art


Adam Pendleton

Pasts, Futures, and Aftermaths: Revisiting the Black Dada Reader (publication)

In 2011, artist Adam Pendleton assembled Black Dada Reader, a compendium of texts, documents and positions that elucidated a practice and ethos of “Black Dada.” Resembling a school course reader, the book was a spiral-bound series of photocopies and collages, originally intended only for personal reference, and eventually distributed informally to friends and colleagues. The contents—an unlikely mix of Hugo Ball, W.E.B. Du Bois, Adrian Piper, Gertrude Stein, Sun Ra, Stokely Carmichael, Gilles Deleuze—formed a kind of experimental canon, realized through what Pendleton calls “radical juxtaposition.” In 2017, Koenig Books published the Reader in a hardcover edition, with newly commissioned essays and additional writings by the artist.

A decade later, Pendleton has composed another reader, building upon the constellation of writers, artists, filmmakers, philosophers and critics that emerged in the first volume, and sketching out new potential forms and vectors for Black Dada. Along with new source texts—from Toni Cade Bambara to Piet Mondrian to Clarice Lispector to Achille Mbembe—Pendleton has included conversations with some of the figures whose writing and work were featured in the earlier Reader: Thomas Hirschhorn, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Joan Jonas, Lorraine O’Grady, and Joan Retallack.

Get your copy here.

Adam Pendleton et al.

Portals (group show)
Hellenic Parliament Library and Printing House, Athens
11 June – 31 December 2021

Installation view: Hellenic Parliament + NEON at the former Public Tobacco Factory, photo © Natalia Tsoukala, courtesy NEON
Installation view: Hellenic Parliament + NEON at the former Public Tobacco Factory, photo © Natalia Tsoukala, courtesy NEON

59 artists from 27 countries including 15 new site-specific works commissioned by NEON will be featured in the group exhibition Portals, opening on 11 June in the renovated spaces of the former Public Tobacco Factory – Hellenic Parliament Library & Printing House, as part of the collaboration between the Hellenic Parliament and NEON.

The exhibition comes as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence, whilst at the same time countries and societies the world over are reeling from the pandemic. In this framework, Portals aspires to convey the messages, ideas and visions of contemporary artistic creation, investigating the new reality forming through the prism of change and disruption.

The exhibition explores contemporary reality and pays tribute to a world in need of healing and unity. The 59 participating artists with different backgrounds and origins, create artworks using various media – installation, painting, sculpture, photography and performance – exploring topics such as Movement, the Communal, Connection and Home.


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