Pulling from a wide range of mediums including collage, painting, writing, printmaking, video, and publishing, Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) utilizes language as his primary tool, recontextualizing appropriated imagery to shed light on underrepresented historical narratives. He is particularly interested in social resistance and avant-garde artistic movements and has synthesized a variety of practices under the rubric of "Black Dada," a term borrowed from the poet Amiri Baraka. Drawing from a vast array of archives, he incorporates material and aesthetic strategies from sources as diverse as the Black Arts Movement, minimalism, conceptual art, experimental performance, and philosophy. This research results in a visual syntax that is as recognizable as it is flexible, and that allows Pendleton to address the complexities of blackness and race from an expansive set of material and theoretical perspectives. By examining and utilizing language as a visual phenomenon, he reveals the textures of politics and history even as he operates in modes that can be classified as abstract.
Adam Pendleton was one of sixty-three artists selected for the Whitney Biennial 2022 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Adam Pendleton: These Things We’ve Done Together, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada, was presented in 2022 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 2021, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented Pendleton's monumental floor-to-ceiling installation, Who Is Queen?, which transformed The Museum of Modern Art's Marron Family Atrium into a dynamic arena exploring Blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde. Other recent solo exhibitions include shows at Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2020); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2020); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2018); Baltimore Museum of Art (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2016); and Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (2016). Recent and notable group exhibitions include Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, New Museum, New York (2021); Manifesto: Art x Agency, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2019); Public Movement: On Art, Politics and Dance, Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden (2017); and Personne et les autres, Belgian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015). His work is in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Tate, London, among other institutions. Pendleton lives and works in New York.
by Adrienne Edwards