Adam Pendleton Transforms MoMA's Atrium Into an Arena of ‘Black Dada’

Adam Pendleton is an American conceptual artist who uses text and appropriated imagery to shine light on underrepresented historical narratives. Heavily inspired by forms of social resistance and avant garde movements, the artist refers to his work as “Black Dada,” a phrase that was first coined by poet, Amiri Baraka. Pendleton is showcasing his first solo exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, entitled, “Who Is Queen?”

MoMA’s Marron Family Atrium is transformed into an arena of dialogue, through several massive 60-foot edifice towers containing several paintings, some of which size at 10 x 20-feet wide. The work on display challenges notions of authorship and legibility through layered messaging, such as the repeated phrase, “WE ARE NOT.”

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In an interview with Artnet News, Pendleton notes how the label ‘Queen’ could be both a “derogatory or loving” name for a queer man, adding that “specifically in Black culture, it has different connotations.” The artist uses this question to explore who we are, what we are, and where we strive to go, both in personal and collective terms.

“We simultaneously possess and are possessed by contradictory ideals and ideas.”

The exhibition also presents Pendleton’s latest video installation, So We Moved: A Portrait of Jack Halberstam, which reflects on the dilapidated Robert E. Lee momument in Richmond, Virginia, alongside Resurrection City — a 1968 ad-hoc city that was set up on the national mall in Washington D.C. The artist noted in a statement that the work “is not black or white. It articulates the ways in which we simultaneously possess and are possessed by contradictory ideals and ideas.”

“Who Is Queen?” is on view at MoMA New York until February 21, 2022.

In case you missed it, ‘KAWS:HOLIDAY’ Singapore installation is set to reopen.

The Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd St,
New York, NY 10019
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