[Adam] Pendleton, 37, is best known as a painter of abstract canvases in a distinctive black-and-white style that challenge how we read language. Made using spray-paint, brush and silk-screen processes, they incorporate photocopied text, words unmoored from context, letters scrambled and repeated.
… Adrienne Edwards, the director of curatorial affairs at the Whitney Museum… called his work a “lush Conceptualism”… But the work is never easy. Pendleton claims for his art the privilege — the necessity — that the French Caribbean scholar Édouard Glissant called the right to opacity: to not be legible, to not have to explain oneself.
“I’m fine with being misunderstood,” he said. “You can see it in my work — these fields of stuttering language. It’s a refusal, but it’s an invitation at the same time.”
[The exhibition] “Who Is Queen?” is prompted by a challenge to the personal identity of the artist, who is Black and gay — the expression “you’re such a queen,” once tossed at him in a way that got under his skin… Perhaps characteristically, rather than dwell on the microaggression, Pendleton made it the prompt for his broad inquiry into how easily the social urge to categorize takes root and constrains hard-won freedoms. “… I think that’s what draws us to art; at its best it’s other [My emphasis — JMN], it’s outside of those fixed and finite spaces.”
(Siddhartha Mitter, “Adam Pendleton Is Rethinking the Museum,” NYTimes, 9-11-21)
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