Cultured Magazine

April/May 2015

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Propelled into the limelight by a hit Performa commission in 2007, self-proclaimed "Black Dadaist" Adam Pendleton found early critical and institutional success in New York with his politically and poetically charged conceptual work, which he makes across performance, painting, publishing and many other mediums. The 31-year-old artist's career has been rocketing along ever since, as he has continued to acquire a slew of accolades that include an acquisition by MoMA and, in 2012, being the youngest artist to join the Pace Gallery roster in some 40 years. Now, Pendleton is set for his Venice Biennale debut at the Belgian Pavilion's exhibition "Personne et Les Autres" (he is the youngest and only American in the 10-person show). And that's on the heels of his solo show "Black Lives Matter" at Pace Gallery in London, which is accompanied by the spring release of "The Black Dada Reader," a book project he has been working on since 2010. Black Dada, a nebulous concept of Pendleton's own invention, was introduced with a manifesto-cum-poem in 2008. Purposefully vague, it is "a way to talk about the future while talking about the past," the Manifesto explains. The phrase succinctly encapsulates much of what Pendleton's practice is about: an interest in poetic language, art history and the avant- garde and the archival. There is certainly a common thread throughout the three projects. "It's the culmination of ideas I've been working with since 2008," says Pendleton. "These projects communicate the visual apparatus that is Black Dada, but also, the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the project." In Venice, wall-sized images—a couple dancing during the Congolese independence celebration in 1960, a collage that includes the phrase "Black Lives Matter," and a 1918 photograph of the New York apartment of Modernist collectors Louise and Walter Arensberg—will be layered with posters based on pages from "The Black Dada Reader" and works from the Independence, Systems of Display and Black Dada series. The show functions as a good primer for the concerns at the heart of Pendleton's practice. "I hope people will ask themselves: 'What kind of content do these images have now today? What does that signify?' I think ultimately it's about complicating ideas about representation and race. But also for me, as an artist, the potential of conceptual art—it's almost a poetic potential. It's the residue of these things that I examine." 88 CULTURED PHOTO BY JOERG LOHSE Supernova Artist Adam Pendleton continues on his politically charged skyward trajectory, breaking boundaries—and a few records—along the way. BY ASHTON COOPER Thirty-one-year-old artist Adam Pendleton is the youngest artist to join Pace Gallery in more than 40 years.

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