Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SEGUE intro for Adam Pendleton (@ Harriet)


"That Pendleton’s recent solo-exhibition “EL T D K” pays tribute to Amiri Baraka’s 1964 poem “Black Dada Nihilismus” seems a perfectly logical step in Pendleton’s practice. Listening to Baraka read his poem tonight repeatedly at PennSound, from a 1964 reading at the Asilomar Negro Writers Conference in Pacific Grove, California, I could hear in Baraka’s reading echoes of the ambivalence that Pendleton himself brings to the performance of his work—an ever-shifting blend of irony and sincerity, affirmation and negation, caveat and invitation. Through his identification with a white, European avant garde movement—Dada—Baraka gives voice to a genealogy of violent struggle against a society of white masters. Given the content of Pendleton’s exhibition—a set of paintings with only phonemes painted on them, a long row of boxy lithographs reproducing widely known photo-documents from canonical 60s and 70s art performances, and a Sol LeWitt-like installation of black cubes entitled “Black Dada”—like Baraka before him Pendleton would seem to recover a white-identified art tradition for Black and Gay liberation struggles while calling into question the perceived reduction such reappropriative gestures can perform."

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