Adam Pendleton

Who Is Queen? (solo show)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
25 July – 4 October 2020

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 from July 25 through Oct 4, 2020. 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


Adam Pendleton

Consortium Museum, Dijon (solo show)
13 March – 31 May 2020

Installation view: Adam Pendleton,
Installation view: Adam Pendleton, "Who We Are", Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, 2019. Photo: def image

Adam Pendleton is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist whose work includes installation, performance, video, and text. He recontextualizes various art historical movements, from Dada to Minimalism to contemporary ballet and literature, combining them with elements highlighting historical figures and events of the civil rights era and the Black Power movement, from Martin Luther King to Malcom X and Stokely Carmichael, as well as today’s Black Lives Matter movement.

His practice is centered on the concept of “Black Dada” borrowed from Black Dada Nihilismus, a 1964 poem by political activist, poet, playwright, and jazz writer Amiri Baraka (1934-2014, formerly known as Leroi Jones). Yet Black Dada is an ever-evolving concept for Pendleton, a space in which viewers can establish new relationships to both language and image, where the body occupies both a physical and intellectual site. It allows the artist to find ways to deconstruct, reconfigure, and reimagine existing images and texts into something new, aligning aesthetics and political distinctions.

Pendleton’s art, which formally relates to modernist painting and the history of the monochrome, is often characterized by a limited palette of shades of black, white, and gray, combining texts and abstract motifs and using techniques such as enlarged Xeroxes, spray paint, digital prints and silkscreen prints. These feature in paintings as well as large-scale installations. He quotes variously from writers and poets such as Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Joan Retallack, Ron Silliman, Leslie Scalapino, and Charles Bernstein. His work broadly strives to find a “way to talk about the future while talking about the past,” but also to create a productive overlap between language, conceptual art, lyrical poetry, and social and political activism.

For me, the object itself is not finite or complete. It’s really a point of departure. It’s this idea I always come back to, which is about viewing the object as a site of engagement. I’m interested in finding a mid-space location, which is maybe how revolutions start.

For his exhibition at the Consortium Museum, the first ever solo show devoted to his work in France, he will present a new monumental artwork specifically conceived for its “White Box” space, an installation designed to unveil What Is Your Name? Kyle Abraham, A Portrait, 2018-2019, a single channel video in which interviews the choreographer and 2013 recipient of a McArthur Fellowship (commonly known as a “genius” grant). This brand-new work is a continuation of earlier video portraits Pendleton made of former Black Panther Party Chief of Staff David Hilliard and artist Lorraine O’Grady, which are in part influenced by Gertrude Stein’s textual self-portraits, furthering Pendleton’s interest in language as material.

Consortium Museum

Adam Pendleton

Elements of Me (solo show)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
13 February – 27 September 2020

Installation view: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2020. Photo: Stewart Clements Photography and Design
Installation view: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2020. Photo: Stewart Clements Photography and Design

Adam Pendleton’s exhibition considers the relations between (geometric) abstraction, blackness, and languages of collectivity. Three basic shapes—square, triangle, and circle—are the refrains in this room-sized installation.

Pendleton is a New York-based artist known for work animated by what the artist calls “Black Dada,” a critical articulation of blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde. Drawing from an archive of language and images, Pendleton makes conceptually rigorous and formally inventive paintings, collages, videos, and installations that insert his work into broader conversations about history and contemporary culture. His work is held in public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Tate, London, among others.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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 – 2 May 2020

Adam Pendleton,
Adam Pendleton, "Untitled (masks)", 2019. © Adam Pendleton. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin | Paris | London. Photo: Andy Romer

Mirosłav Bałka – Jean-Michel Basquiat – Max Ernst – Urs Fischer – 
Rashid Johnson – Michael Joo – Adam McEwen – Adam Pendleton 
– Ugo Rondinone – Henry Taylor

This small-scale group exhibition borrows its name from the title of Italo Calvino’s novel, published in 1979, towards the end of the Italian author’s life (1923–1985). If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler was written as an act of wandering through reading, during which the author leads us through various tales that remain unfinished, and never become a coherent plot together. It is written in the second person, making us, the readers, not only his companions on the literary journey but actual protagonists of the reading course. Inspired by the novel, the exhibition “If on a winter’s night a traveler” (in Hebrew it is a female traveler) aims to offer the viewer a journey following observation of art. The viewer (that is, you) is invited to wander along, opposite, beside and around 13 works of art created by ten artists: two lived and worked in the 20th century, the others live and work in the early 21st century. 
The links between the works will hopefully be revealed along the journey: questions of identity, masculinity (old and new), cruelty (between people and in relation to nature), figuring the humanbody and the way in which cultures nurture and enrich each other. “If on a winter’s night a traveler” invites you to wander through the gallery and compose your own story of the exhibition from layers of clues, meanings and sub-plots that the works bring forth.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art