Adam Pendleton.
New York: Zucker Art Books, 2018. (BRF0450)

Anthology is a beautifully bound and hand-sewn book, each with a unique canvas cover. There are 200 compositions of screen-printed pages on Japanese Shoji paper. No. 19 of an edition of 24. Signed by the artist.

Adam Pendleton (b. 1984) uses pre-existing collage, language, and print materials in his artist’s book Anthology. Materials are sourced to create the compositions, which are collated in chronological sequence. Isolated photographs of fabrics, images that are related to modernism and decolonization in Africa, ceramics, masks (often with identifying text), individuals, quotes and writings featuring the Black Panther Party for example, are featured. Readers can identify recurring imagery placed behind text, within the text, isolated within shapes, and as the focal point of the page.

The medium of language, whether text sound, image, or space, is the predominant unifying element whether obscured or intertwined with images. Text unifies the pages, often by being spray-painted very large or laid in a horizontal and vertical pattern and often in layers. Letters are removed from words in unique combinations; for example, one word may only have two letters in one collage, while six of the letters in another. The text is not random, however. It is an intentional investigation of history and writings re-contextualized through the page. Pendleton aims to consider the past we inhabited, the present that we currently inhabit, and possible futures we might inhabit.

Pendleton often utilizes the grid as the dominant feature of a page. Expressive gestures and experimentalism featuring copied images, pattern, or drawn lines will often mimic the layout on the opposing page strengthening the composition. The queen in Pendleton’s studio is his copy machine. He uses reproductive technologies, insisting on blackness as a multiplicity. Pendleton adds pastels and paint, applied with brush strokes and stencils over the collage, copies the page, and re-introduces the source material over and over.

Adam Pendleton has a multidisciplinary practice that includes painting, printmaking, book arts, performance, filmmaking, sculpture, and event organizing. In all of his work, Pendleton uses pre-existing language and print materials.

Pendleton believes that we need as many points of entry to history as possible. He is quoted as saying, “I am constantly lifting words, sentences, images from a wide variety of sources.” (BOMB, Thom Donovan, 2012). Pendleton’s “Who is Queen” is currently on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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