Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) is a conceptual artist known for his multi-disciplinary practice, which moves fluidly between painting, publishing, photographic collage, video and performance. His work centers on an engagement with language, in both the figurative and literal senses, and the re-contextualization of history through appropriated imagery to establish alternative interpretations of the present and, as the artist has explained, “a future dynamic where new historical narratives and meanings can exist.”
Palo Alto – Pace Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Adam Pendleton, the gallery’s fourth solo exhibition by the New York-based conceptual artist since 2012 and the first in California. Featuring paintings and works on paper from several of the artist’s ongoing series, including System of Display, Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy), and Independance, the exhibition will provide a West Coast audience with a powerful survey of the latest evolutions within Pendleton’s practice. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, November 16 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Pendleton’s conceptual practice engages with language, abstraction, and identity through a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, writing, film and performance, among others. His works are centered around linguistic and visual communication with varying degrees of legibility that create thought-provoking presentations and explore the construction of meaning and understanding. Often referencing artistic and political movements, including Dada, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, and the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements, Pendleton appropriates and reconfigures images and texts to critically examine the resonance of ideas from varied perspectives.
“It is an honor to present Adam’s work at the gallery this fall,” says Elizabeth Sullivan, President of Pace Palo Alto. “While he is no stranger to the Bay Area, with this mini-survey, Adam will give local audiences an incisive entry point into some of his most important ongoing bodies of work, as well as the complex ideas and aesthetic challenges he explores within his practice.”
For Which We Can, Pendleton has created a collection of 30 silkscreen on Mylar works that will be installed in a grid formation stretching from floor to ceiling across the largest wall of the gallery. For these works he layers and reassembles photocopies, using cut-out shapes, handwritten text, and other elements to create collages. These pieces in particular reflect Pendleton’s intimate process of repeatedly cutting, fragmenting, and combining material. The exhibition will also include five new spray paint and silkscreen paintings. The paintings, titled Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy), are based on collages that abstract the titular phrase, which was pulled from Malcolm X’s 1964 speech “The Ballot or the Bullet.” Hovering between abstraction and representation, the paintings feature expressive linear strokes that have been spray-painted onto the canvas.
To Pendleton, there is: “something democratizing about spray paint—anyone can pick it up, you use it, you make a sign, there’s an immediacy, it is functional. There is an inherent value of the street and its aesthetic. I’m just blackening it. I make a black ground. It becomes the ground of the painting in a traditional sense. The figure is the textual collage that uses the language, which is pulled apart and abstracted. There’s a tension that pulls at the burden of representation. The figure is abstracted, deconstructed language. I’m interested in how it functions—the shift from total meaning—I can read it—to fragment.”
Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) is recognized for his conceptual practice, which encompasses painting, sculpture, publishing, photographic collage, video, and performance. Often referencing political and artistic history, including social resistance movements and Dada, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, Pendleton siphons historical and aesthetic content from texts and visual culture to critically examine the resonance of ideas from varied cultural and social perspectives. Language is a primary focus of Pendleton’s practice, employed as material and as image, examined through broader works including his ongoing Black Dada project.
Pendleton has been the subject of solo exhibitions across the United States and abroad, at institutions including the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (2008); Kunstverein, Amsterdam (2009); The Kitchen, New York (2010); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017); and Baltimore Museum of Art (2017). His 2016 solo exhibition Becoming Imperceptible was organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, before closing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Ohio. His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Afro-Modernism: Journeys through the Black Atlantic, Tate Liverpool (2010); Greater New York 2010, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (2010); Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Alphabets / Heaps of Language, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2014–15); the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015); The Revolution Will Not Be Grey, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2016); and the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016).
Pendleton’s work is held in major public collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Tate, London.
Pace is a leading contemporary art gallery representing many of the most significant international artists and estates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Founded by Arne Glimcher in Boston in 1960 and currently led by Marc Glimcher, Pace has been a constant, vital force in the art world and has introduced many renowned artists’ work to the public for the first time. Pace has mounted more than 900 exhibitions, including scholarly shows that have subsequently traveled to museums, and published over 450 exhibition catalogues. Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide: one gallery in Palo Alto, California, located at 229 Hamilton Avenue; three galleries in New York; one in London; one in Beijing; and spaces in Hong Kong, Paris, and Seoul. In 2016, the gallery launched Pace Art + Technology, a new program dedicated to showcasing interdisciplinary art groups, collectives and studios whose works explore the confluence of art and technology. Pace opened its permanent location in downtown Palo Alto, California in 2016.
On the occasion of Adam Pendleton's exhibition, Which We Can, at Pace's Palo Alto location, the artist will be giving a lecture at Stanford University's Anderson Collection on the evening of Tuesday, November 14, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Which We Can will be on view at Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto For tickets, click here. More information can be found at the Anderson Collection's website, here.