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Art Index: Adam Pendleton

“Pendleton takes a coolly intellectual approach to hot subject matter." - The New York Times

Adam Pendleton

Adam Pendleton, copyright by Gioncarlo Valentine

Artist Biography

Adam Pendleton (born 1984, Richmond, Virginia) is an American conceptual artist known for his multi-disciplinary practice involving painting, silkscreen, collage, video and performance. His work often involves the investigation of language and the recontextualization of history through appropriated imagery. His art has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the New Museum, and other shows internationally, including La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. He has been featured twice in ForbesMagazine's “30 Under 30” list.

The artist splits his time between New York City and Germantown, New York. Pendleton often juxtaposes imagery, language, music, and concepts from a variety of subjects such as philosophy and important historical movements, creating complex work that allows for multiple interpretations. He has often focused on significant moments in Black American history such as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and the recent Black Lives Matter movement that emerged following the murder of Trayvon Martin.

In his 2007 performance piece, The Revival, the artist, dressed in a white tuxedo jacket, black pants and bright green shoes, gave a sermon while accompanied by a 30-person gospel choir. Pendleton’s homily, titled "a dream of an uncommon language," featured language borrowed from poets such as John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein and Donald Hall, as well as "politico-speak and strident gay protest". Also included in the revival were "testimonials" from contemporary artist Liam Gillick and poet Jena Osman.

the Revival, Adam Pendleton

The Revival, 2007 Performance Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Mr. Pendleton is the most charismatic performer I’ve seen on stage for a long time” - Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times

Black Dada is a concept that informs much of the artist’s work. There is no explicit definition but the artist has described the idea as “a way to talk about the future while talking about the past. It is our present moment." The Black Dada series of paintings contain a partial view of Sol LeWitt’s cube sculptures, accompanied by one or more letters derived from the phrase "Black Dada." The phrase comes from the 1964 poem "Black Dada Nihilismus" by Amiri Baraka. Pendleton states that the two words merge two ideas: “Dada, meaning ‘yes, yes’ and black as an open-ended signifier.” In 2011, Pendleton’s Black Dada (LK/LC/AA) was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art.

Installation view of “Adam Pendleton: Our Ideas” at Pace Gallery, London (2018). © Adam Pendleton, courtesy the Artist and Pace Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths, courtesy Pace Gallery

In 2020, Pendleton created a unique and provocative cover for The New York Times Magazine's July 4th edition which featured a Frederick Douglass speech with imagery overlaid, suggesting a disconnect with America’s promise of freedom versus its continued post-slavery caste system.

Photo courtesy The New York Times Magazine

Auction results:

The oldest auction result ever registered on for an artwork by this artist is a print-multiple sold in 2010, at Wright Auction, and the most recent auction result is a print-multiple sold in 2021.'s price levels for this artist are based on 64 auction results. Especially: painting, print-multiple, drawing-watercolor, audiovisual-multimedia.

Starting 2010 to 2021, Adam Pendleton’s work worths $1.6 million: in his homeland he is most known and sold 41 pieces ($937,000), while in Europe (UK, precisely), his turnover has been of $675,900 with 8 pieces sold; sales are split in two, almost on a parity with each other, as paintings results to be the 57%, while print-multiple the remaining 43%. The difference is minimal.



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