conceptual art

Adam Pendleton

United States 1984

Conceptual Art

Adam Pendleton
Adam Pendleton
United States
March 27, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Using a wide range of media from painting to photography, performance to video art, a Virginia-born conceptual artist Adam Pendleton draws his themes and iconography from the experience of the Conceptualism, Dadaism, Minimalism and experimental literature. He is referring to cultural movements from the 1960’s to today which includes mostly the ones from African-American political and social history such as Civil Rights Movement, Black Power and Black Arts Movement. He is best known for his paintings exploring politics and language through historical and modernist imagery.

Adam Pendleton - WE (we are not successive), 2015, new york, contact
Adam Pendleton – WE (we are not successive), 2015

Beginnings and Early Career

As a young boy, Adam Pendleton used to spend hours in the basement of his family’s house in Richmond, Virginia, painting and studying art by artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. While attending the private Collegiate School in Richmond, Pendleton traveled alone and with his father to galleries and museums in New York. In 2000, he studied in an international art program in northern Italy. Two years later, when Pendelton was at the age of 18, he moved from Virginia to New York with the intention of becoming an artist. There, Adam would send slides of his works to New York galleries and follow up with phone calls. One dealer, who was also an assistant to artist Sol LeWitt, put Adam Pendleton in a group show. When LeWitt came to the gallery, he spotted Pendleton’s painting. Impressed by the work of young Pendleton, LeWitt bought the piece by trading one of his own pieces for it, becoming Pendleton’s first collector. In 2005, Adam Pendleton had his first solo show titled Deeper down There, at the Yvon Lambert Gallery. The show featured two-color canvases with silk-screened lines from modern African-American literature and music, as well as paintings resembling enlarged record album covers.

Adam Pendleton 2011
Adam Pendleton, Black Dada (LK LC AA), 2008-09 (Left) / Black Dada drawing (A-A), 2011 (Right)

Black Dada

Adam Pendleton’s work often involves the investigation of language, in both the figurative and literal senses and the recontextualization of history through appropriated imagery. Much of Pendleton’s art is underpinned by an idea artist calls Black Dada, which fuses race with the early 20th-century avant-garde. The title of Adam Pendleton’s series of paintings, Black Dada, 2008-2009, is borrowed from a 1964 work by the Beat poet and activist Amiri Baraka, Black Dada Nihilismus. Baraka’s poem Black Dada Nihilismus became a point of departure for paintings that presented fragments of the text through conventions of Conceptual and Minimal art of the 1960s. The Black Dada paintings contain a partial view of Sol LeWitt’s cube sculptures, accompanied by one or more letters derived from the phrase “Black Dada”.

“Black Dada is a way to talk about the future while talking about the past. It is
our present moment” – Adam Pendleton

Adam Pendleton - 2011, information new use
Adam Pendleton – Black Dada (A), 2011 (Left) / Black Dada (A), 2011 (Right)

Large-Scale Performances and Installations

Adam Pendleton’s large-scale performance, Revival, 2007, established his artistic style as modern and abstract. In the Revival, Pendleton presided over a 30-person choir and presented testimonials from poets such as Liam Gillick and Jena Osman. The piece was part of Performa Biennial 07 and was performed at Stephan Weiss studio. In Adam Pendleton’s performance works, but also through his printing projects and his installations such as System of Display, the artist reflects on social movements and questions of historical representation through procedural methods. System of Display is a series of works involving mirrors, letters and silkscreened images appropriated from art publications, among other sources. The images include photographs of the Fridericianum during the 1955 Documenta and of a couple dancing in the street during a celebration of independence in Congo, as well as stills of Anna Karina from Jean-Luc Godard’s film Made in U.S.A.

Adam Pendleton - System of Display 2012, information new use
Adam Pendleton – System of Display, E (MEMORIES/Heinz Loew, primary three-dimensional design elements, 1928), 2012

Band – Video Installation

Adam Pendleton’s three-channel video installation entitled BAND, 2009, tracks the process of the indie rock, post-punk band Deerhoof working on and recording a new song, I Did Crimes for You. This approximately 12-minute video is loosely based on Godard’s film Sympathy for the Devil, which features The Rolling Stones recording their song of the same name. In BAND, footage of Deerhoof rehearsing is edited to include fragments from a 1971 documentary Teddy, about a young member of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles. The resulting video follows the formal logic of Godard’s film, but the scenario it presents is strikingly more ambiguous. The song’s lyrics consist of confrontational rhetoric characteristic of the late 1960s while the voiceover from the documentary speaks of the prospects of change and the efficacy of such violence.

Adam Pendleton - Band, 2009, information contact use new time
Adam Pendleton – Band, 2009

Black Lives Matter

In one of Adam Pendleton’s latest series titled Black Lives Matter, the artist is exploring the relations between race, politics and language, while keeping in mind the burden of the history on the present comprehensions of such relations. Pendleton is sending a clear message that, even in the United States, the idea of equal rights has only been recognized, but not yet accepted. He is referring to more recent events such as the political riots that burst out after the death of an eighteen-year-old African-American citizen in Ferguson, Missouri. Pendleton’s paintings from the series have a unique surface that lies between handmade and machine-made. The machine sprays the phrase on an abstract ground, creating a tension between overt and abstract modes of representation. Adam has also created a wall work that is an enlargement of a collage featuring the phrase Black Lives Matter.

Through his work, Pendleton is sending a message that the idea of equal rights has only been
recognized, but not yet accepted

Adam Pendleton - Bricks, 2013
Adam Pendleton – Bricks, 2013

Exhibition and Collections

Born in 1984, Pendleton is already a widely recognized artist. His installation Abolition of Alienated Labor, was featured in MoMA PS1’s Greater New York exhibition in 2010. Two years later, he signed with Pace Gallery at age 28, the youngest artist to do so since the 1970s. In 2015, at 31, he was the youngest artist to represent the Belgian Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale. His work is included in the permanent collections of some of the most notable museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The artist’s largest solo museum presentation Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible has been opened at the Contemporary Arts center in New Orleans in April 2016 and it will be on display through June 16, 2016.

Adam Pendleton - Black Lives Matter, Belgian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, installation view
Adam Pendleton – Black Lives Matter, Belgian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, installation view

Critique of Racial Prejudice

Known for his engagement with language and re-contextualization of history through multi-disciplinary practices, Pendleton not only captures a moment in history but also uses his work to invite global conversations around social and racial controversies in the US. By creating work that often blends facts, ambiguous dates, found text, and appropriated images, he challenges and critiques the prevailing systems of racial prejudice. His art ultimately depicts the artist’s view of the world.

The artist is represented by Pace Gallery, London; Pace Gallery, Beijing; Pace Gallery, Hong Kong; and Pace Gallery, Menlo Park.

Adam Pendleton lives and works between New York City and Germantown, New York.

Featured image: Adam Pendleton – portrait, photo credits Observer
All images copyright © the artist

YearName of the exhibitionMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016Adam Pendleton: Becoming ImperceptibleContemporary Arts Center New Orleans, LASolo
2016New VisionsTensta Konsthall, Spanga, SwedenGroup
2015Personne et les autresBelgian Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, ItalyGroup
2015New WorkPace Gallery, London, UKSolo
2015Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015Whitechapel Gallery, London, UKGroup
2015Sharon Hayes, Tony Lewis, Adam PendletonAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2014Adam PendletonPace Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2014Selected WorksShane Campbell Gallery, Lincoln Park, ILSolo
2014The Disappearance of the FirefliesCollection Lambert, Avignon, FranceGroup
2014Love Story - Anne and Wolfgang Titze Collection21er Haus and Winter Palace, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2014Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary ArtWalker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2014Joan Jonas & Adam PendletonGaleria Pedro Cera, Lisbon, PortugalGroup
2014We Love Video This SummerPace Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2013The 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts: InterruptionInternational Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, SloveniaGroup
2013Warhol OnesHalf Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2013After Hours 2: Murals on the BoweryArt Production Fund, in partnership with The New Museum, New York, NYGroup
2012Adam Pendleton: I’ll Be YourThe Pace Gallery, London, UKSolo
2012ArtpaceSan Antonio, TXSolo
2012Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of LanguageMuseum of Modern Art, New YorkGroup
2012Heart to HandSwiss Institute, New YorkGroup
2012La Triennale--Intense ProximityPalais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2012Phantom LimbMuseum of Contemporary Art, ChicagoGroup
2012Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary ArtContemporary Arts Museum Houston, TXGroup
2011Adam Pendleton: New Black Dada PaintingsGaleria Pedro Cera, Lisbon, PortugalSolo
2011BANDSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CASolo
2011the womenShane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2011Art StatementsGalerie Pedro Cera, Art 42 Basel, Basel, SwitzerlandSolo
2011A Promise is a CloudPublic Art Fund, MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011Fifth Contour BiennialMechelen, BelgiumGroup
2011Soft MachinesThe Pace Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2011Never Odd or EvenGrimmuseum, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010BANDThe Kitchen, New York, NYSolo
2010Adam PendletonIllingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, CanadaSolo
2010EL T D K Los AngelesRoberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, CASolo
2010Adam Pendleton: chandelier across cognition generates glow linguistic signals perceptionGalerie Pedro Cera, Lisbon, PortugalSolo
2010Greater New YorkP.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NYGroup
2010Collected. Reflections on the Permanent CollectionStudio Museum Harlem, New York, NGroup
2010Blood of a PoetThierry Goldberg Projects, New York, NYGroup
2010Self as DisappearanceCentre d’Art Contemporain, La Synagogue de Delme, Delme, FranceGroup
2010DesireBlanton Museum of Art, Austin, TXGroup
2010Afro-Modernism: Journeys through the Black AtlanticTate Liverpool, Liverpool, EnglandGroup
2010From Then to NowMuseum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OHGroup
2010It Is WrittenCentre Pompidou-Metz, FranceGroup
2009BAND (as part of EL T D K Amsterdam)de Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Solo
2009grey-blue grain (as part of EL T D K Amsterdam)Kunstverein, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2009BANDToronto International Film Festival, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2009EL T D K BerlinHaunch of Venison, Berlin, GermanySolo
2009A Generational: Younger Than JesusNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NYGroup
2009Talk ShowICA, London, EnglandGroup
2009Black HoleKunsthalle Andratx, Mallorca, SpainGroup
2009Artists in ResidenceStudio Museum Harlem, New York, NYGroup
2009Cargo/Cargo Manifest/Cargo VisionAutocenter, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Constellations: Paintings from the MCA CollectionMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2009Infinitesimal EternityYale University School of Art, New Haven, CTGroup
2009The One Hundred and Sixty-Third FloorMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2009The PromptPerforma 09, New York, NYGroup
2008Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary ArtIndianapolis, INSolo
2008Hey Hey GlossolaliaCreative Time, New York, NYGroup
2008After 1968High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GAGroup
2008Object, The Undeniable Success of OperationsStedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2008The Future as DisruptionThe Kitchen, New York, NYGroup
2008Freeway BalconiesDeutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008Manifesta 7Tentino-South, Tyrol, ItalyGroup
2008MacrocosmRoberts & Tilton, Culver City, CAGroup
2008Perform History IIU-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art, Arhus, DenmarkGroup
2008Manifesto MarathonSerpentine Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2008Matter of Fact: AftermathGaleria Vermelho, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2007Adam Pendleton: Rendered in Black and RenderedRhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2007The Revival, Performa 07Weiss Studio, New York, NYSolo
2007Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and RollMuseum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Resistance IsThe Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2006Message PersonnelYvon Lambert, Paris, FranceGroup
2006Figure of the PlayerCollection Lambert, Avignon, FranceGroup
2006Sea ChangeRoberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005Adam Pendleton: Gorilla, My LoveRhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILSolo
2005History, Part 1Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, CASolo
2005Deeper Down ThereYvon Lambert, New York, NYSolo
2005FrequencyStudio Museum in Harlem, New York, NYGroup
2005Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TXGroup
2004Being HereUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, ILSolo
2004It’s About MemoryRhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2004Optimo: Manifestations of Optimism in Contemporary ArtMarfa Ballroom, Marfa, TXGroup