Adam Pendleton - Reframed, reconditioned, and perpetually reoccurring, found images have served as Pendleton’s primary tools and source material throughout his practice. Becoming Imperceptible follows the logic of Pendleton’s museum installations, constructing social and aesthetic histories, comprised of images in process and inscribed in the structure of their container

Adam Pendleton, Becoming Imperceptible, Siglio, 2016. 

Reframed, reconditioned, and perpetually reoccurring, found images have served as Adam Pendleton’s primary tools and source material throughout his practice. Becoming Imperceptible follows the logic of Pendleton’s museum installations, constructing social and aesthetic histories, comprised of images in process and inscribed in the structure of their container. Including Pendleton’s texts “Black Dada” and “Amiri Baraka, ” and drawing on a diverse archive that traverses European, African and American avant-gardes and civil rights movements of the last century—from Dada and Bauhaus to Black Lives Matter literature, from Language poetry to Black Power poetics, from Conceptual art to African Independence movements—Becoming Imperceptible frames a complex dialogue between culture and system. It also embodies Pendleton’s practice by inviting the reader in an unfolding conversation about race and history, art and form.
Becoming Imperceptible is the first in in a collaborative series of artist’s books with the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans in which each year an artist is invited to intervene in the history and space of the book. All of the books in this collection will be different sizes, on different paper, with very different sensibilities and aesthetics, but each one will be a paperback with a reverse-fold dust jacket that features a poster-sized artwork by the artist as well as a booklet of critical essays about each artist’s work. Becoming Imperceptible has three different dust jackets and includes essays by Andrea Andersson, Naomi Beckwith, Kitty Scott and Stephen Squibb. The exhibition that this book accompanies opens April 1, 2016  and runs until June 16.

Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible is the largest solo presentation of the artist’s work to date. The title of the exhibition is derived from the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, who assert that “to go unnoticed, is by no means easy,” and positions Pendleton’s practice as a form of counter-portraiture. The works on view explore visual and cultural framing practices to re-contextualize European, African, and American aesthetic and cultural movements from Minimalism and Dada to Black Lives Matter.
The exhibition brings together works that exemplify the artist's diverse practice, including a large-scale vinyl wall work, Black Lives Matter #3 (wall work) (2015), a film installation My Education: A Portrait of David Hilliard (2011–14), floor-based abstract ceramic sculptures Code Poems (2016), and works from Pendleton's ongoing series of Black Dada paintings.
Narrating the soundscape of the gallery, the 3-screen film installation My Education: A Portrait of David Hilliard offers an intimate depiction of Hilliard, an educator and the former founding Chief of Staff of the Black Panther Party. The film was shot in Oakland, CA as Pendleton accompanied Hilliard through neighborhoods that were once home to the Black Panther Movement during the 1960s. Hilliard is presented from multiple perspectives, creating an abstract narrative that challenges assumptions about history as a series of singular events built on objective truths.
Central to the exhibition are works that rearticulate Conceptual and Minimalist art practices. Pendleton’s Black Dada paintings, an ongoing body of work the artist began in 2008, recontextualize the phrase “Black Dada” by reframing the letters of each word with cropped images of Sol Lewitt’s Incomplete Open Cube sculptures (1974). Another series, Untitled (water) (2014) appropriates photographs of water surfaces taken by Josef Albers in 1929 to explore ideas about order and disorder. These two bodies of work, like many in Pendleton’s oeuvre, bring together historic forms of avant-garde discourse to prompt reconsiderations of familiar cultural referents.
Becoming Imperceptible is curated by Andrea Andersson Ph. D., the Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) New Orleans, and was originated by the CAC. MOCA Cleveland’s presentation of Becoming Imperceptible is organized by Senior Curator Andria Hickey.  -

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 has most recently been recently exhibited in the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and Pace Gallery, London. In 2016 Mousse will release the first trade edition of Black Dada.


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