adam pendleton

Sotheby’s and Dmitry Rybolovlev Will Come to the Table on Art Fraud Case + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Thursday, March 9.


Turkey Loses Bid to Keep Artifact – The U.S. court of appeals’s second circuit has upheld a district court’s decision that Turkey is not the owner of a 6,000-year-old marble idol. Called “the Stargazer,” the 5,000-year-old antiquity had been in the U.S. for 50 years before Turkey tried to have it restituted, and was on view at the Met. Turkey has been fighting auction house Christie’s and the piece’s private owner, Michael Steinhardt, for years. (Courthouse News)

Miriam Cahn Painting Sparks Controversy – Palais de Tokyo has responded to a viral ruckus on Twitter about a work in Cahn’s solo show at the museum. Some viewers misinterpreted a work that depicts a prisoner being forced to perform a sexual act while in bondage, mistaking the prisoner as a child, and reading the work as pedophilic. The museum clarified that the painting depicts adults and is a comment on the Ukraine war, in particular the atrocities that took place in Bucha. “The repetition of violence during wars is not intended to shock but to denounce,” said Cahn. (Twitter) (ARTnews)

Sotheby’s and Dmitry Rybolovlev Agree to Mediation – Attorneys for both sides have heeded a judge’s advice to avoid an “expensive, risky, and potentially embarrassing” trial to decide whether the auction house “aided and abetted” an alleged fraud perpetrated by Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. The charges center on the propriety of the price markups Bouvier made on a series of multimillion dollar art transactions for masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and others. Mediation will proceed under purview of a different judge than the one originally appointed however, as Magistrate Judge Lehrburger’s niece happens to be a lawyer at Sotheby’s law firm. (Press release)

Venus Williams and Adam Pendleton Stage Auction – The two stars will stage a fundraising event at Pace’s New York gallery to raise money for the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. A benefit gala will be accompanied by online auction at  Sotheby’s. The auction will include works donated by major international artists, including by Mary Weatherford, Stanley Whitney, Robert Longo, and Cecily Brown. (Press release)


Phillips New Now Sale Brings in $8.4 Million – Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, and Jason Boyd Kinsella were among the highlights of the New York sale on March 8. Susan Chen’s He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, sold for more than three times its estimate, at $35,560, and sale records were achieved for Daisy Dodd-Noble and Tammy Nguyen. (Press release)

French Government to Consider Impact of French Tax Hike France’s committee of professional art galleries has begun to create an impact study of a proposed tax hike. An E.U.-wide rule, which was quietly approved last April and will not take effect until 2025, could impose a 20 percent sales tax on artworks. The news has rattled the French art market, where art sales and the market’s boom have benefitted from a reduced tax rate of 5.5 percent. The working group is concerned that it will lead to an artificial inflation of prices, the penalization of artists, and fewer museum acquisitions. (Press release)

Yayoi Kusama to Debut New Infinity Room – A new Instagram-appealing “Infinity Room” by the nonagenarian artist is slated to open this May at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. The exhibition, titled “I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers” marks the ten-year anniversary of Kusama exhibiting with Zwirner, and is the artist’s largest to date. (ARTnews)


National Portrait Gallery to Display Mural Honoring Women – Artists Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake have been commissioned for a massive work featuring 130 female luminaries of British art and culture. Titled Work in Progress, the massive piece is modeled after the famed Beatles album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and includes silhouettes of undersung women throughout history, from the 19th century abolitionist Ellen Craft to nurse Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. (Guardian)

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Artist Adam Pendleton on Taking Over MoMA’s Atrium With a Monumental Tribute to Black Dada

For his first solo exhibition at a New York institution, the 37-year-old American artist Adam Pendleton has taken a big swing in the heart of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). 

Scaling three sides of the soaring atrium space, modular black 60-foot scaffolds support black-and-white text-based paintings as big as 10 by 20 feet; large-scale drawings; a massive screen for moving images; and speakers projecting a sound collage. Together, they form a single work of art titled Who Is Queen?, which opens on September 18. 

The monumental installation explores the artist’s concept of Black Dada, which has underpinned his work for more than a decade. He explores how theories of Blackness relate to abstraction and the avant-garde, and how mass movements such as Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter could influence the form of the exhibition. At the tail end of an eight-week installation, the Brooklyn-based artist took a break to talk about the long gestation of the show and the sum of its parts. 

Installation view of "Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Andy Romer.

Installation view of “Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Andy Romer.

How would you define the essence of Black Dada?

It’s a way of talking about the future while talking about the past. It’s about looking at Blackness as an open-ended idea that is not just related to notions of race. It looks at Blackness in relationship to politics, in relationship to art, in relationship even more specifically to the avant-garde. It’s kind of a framing device but it’s fluid and it’s unfixed. 

What was the genesis of this exhibition?

I did a residency at MoMA in 2011. It was a little-known secret that when [former MoMA associate director] Kathy Halbreich was at the museum, she invited a handful of artists to interact with the museum however they saw fit. Before meeting with her, I stayed up all night putting these different texts and ideas and artists and writers and thinkers together. I made this reader and handed it to Kathy: this is Black Dada. It was a kind of wild dream. The primary thing that came out of the residency was taking the Black Dada that existed in spiral-bound photo copies, DIY, and turning it into this hardbound book with essays from two MoMA curators and other curators who engaged with my work. Burning in the background was the idea for Who Is Queen?

Why did you choose that name—Who Is Queen?—for the show?

Queen could be a derogatory or loving—depending on who you are—name for a queer man. But specifically in Black culture, it has different connotations. If you’re an effeminate gay man, someone would say, “Oh you’re such a queen.” A long time ago, someone said this to me, and on the one hand I was offended and on the other hand I wanted to embrace it. Then I was repulsed by having to decide between one or the other. There’s something about being a vulnerable being in society. We’re all vulnerable in different ways and at different times. That’s at the heart of Queen, this idea of who we are, what we are, and looking at that in personal but also collective terms. It’s a question I pose to myself but also a question I’m posing to the viewer. 

Adam Pendleton, Untitled (WE ARE NOT) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist.

Adam Pendleton, Untitled (WE ARE NOT) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist.

So many of the paintings and drawings here are text-based, including two monumental canvases densely layered with the repeated phrase “We Are Not.” Is it important to you that viewers are able to decipher these or know the source of the text used?

In this instance, I’m referring back to a series of “We Are Not” statements I made in the Black Dada text I wrote in 2008. So not defining yourself by what you are, but by perhaps what you are not. We are not what they say we are. It’s this tension between legibility and illegibility, abstraction and representation, that is embodied in the piece visually but also within the language the painting utilizes. 

One of the things I want to do is get people’s attention. I want there to be this moment of recognition where you realize there is language. It’s legible, but layered or abstracted enough to refuse an immediate or easy interpretation. I think sometimes if you immediately read something and understand it, you move on. I’m much more interested in this site of engagement, where you actually stop and think about what you’re reading and what you’re looking at. 

Who Is Queen? was originally supposed to open last summer. In terms of content, what kind of an impact has the past year and a half had on the project?

One video is called Notes on Robert E. Lee, about the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, which is actually my hometown. That monument became a focal point during the summer of protest. It was completely transformed by graffiti. It’s fenced off and I shot it through the fences. That is something that is very responsive. [The stature of Lee was just removed from its pedestal last week.]

The statue of Robert E. Lee stands on the ground. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

I just locked the edits on all three of the video pieces that will be shown. There’s also a video portrait of the queer theorist Jack Halberstam and a piece that’s titled Notes on Resurrection City, an ad-hoc city that was resurrected on the National Mall in D.C. in 1968. It was up for six weeks. It’s commonly referred to as the culmination of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. It was a site where people from all over the country gathered—Black, white—and demanded economic justice. What really strikes me about Resurrection City was the architecture. They were using very simple two-by-fours to construct these A-frame structures that the people lived in. These structures elevated a humble material and created something unexpected out of ordinary wood. That’s an example of architecture that really influenced Who Is Queen?

Installation view of "Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?" at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Andy Romer.

Installation view of “Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Andy Romer.

How is sound being integrated into the work?

When the whole piece is “on” and all elements are conversant, you’ll hear the sound collage, and then when the sound collage is not audible, you’ll hear the audio from the video works. They’ll phase in and out. It’s all automated. It’s contrapuntal.  

The three core tracks of the sound collage are a 2014 phone recording of a New York solidarity protest in Manhattan with Black Lives Matter, a 1980 reading that the poet Amiri Baraka delivered at the Walker Art Center, and a 1994 composition by the composer Hahn Rowe called Yellow Smile. These are interwoven with music by Jace Clayton, Julius Eastman, Laura Rivers, Frederic Rzewski, Linda and Sonny Sharrock, and Hildegard Westerkamp. 

There’s also a series of podcasts I’m doing with people including Jack Halberstam, Lynne Tillman, Tyshawn Sorey, Alexis Pauline Gumbs—writers, philosophers, poets, musicians. They will be in conversation with each other. I’m operating as a kind of moderator. The audio [from the podcasts] will fold back into the sound collage. The exhibition is almost like a feedback loop. It’s generative. It’s basically an algorithm that does not allow for the same thing to repeat, even if it is using the same elements. Very much like life. No day is the same. 

Adam Pendleton, Untitled (HEY MAMA HEY) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist.

Adam Pendleton, Untitled (HEY MAMA HEY) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist.

I can’t think of another artist who has taken over this atrium so completely.

I don’t think they’ve ever had a piece that’s used the entire height of the atrium and transformed it into a space for painting, for drawing, for sound collage, for moving image. The piece becomes a different thing depending on where you are in the museum—on the third floor, fourth floor, fifth floor, sixth floor. You can look down and see it. It really plays with the experience and the architecture of the museum on multiple levels. I really think of Queen as a kind of beautiful machine. It’s an insertion of Black Dada into an institutional space—conceptually, theoretically, and just physically. 

Installation view of “Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photo: Andy Romer.

In the wake of the last year, when institutions have been held accountable on racism and equity in a new way, which kind of critique or disruption would you hope Queen delivers?

I hope that one of the things that Queen does is productively overwhelm the institution. Outside of just thinking about this institution, I hope as a concept, as an idea, as a form, it disrupts and reconfigures institutional spaces. I hope it breaks down the things we think are known. 


“Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?” is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from September 18, 2020–January 30, 2021.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook:

Here Are the 14 U.S. Museum Shows That Matter This Fall, From a Survey of 21st-Century Feminisms in Berkeley to a Radical Art Rediscovery in Atlanta

As museums begin to reopen in the United States, we cast an eye over upcoming exhibitions for those that promise the most urgent and notable art of our time. The resulting list contains a diverse roster of 14 shows—by solo practitioners and groups chosen by keen-eyed curators—coming to museums from coast to coast.

Some exhibitions will introduce you to artists you may not know, like Bani Abidi at the MCA Chicago, Michaela Eichwald at the Walker Art Center, and Nellie Mae Rowe at the High Museum. Others will offer new insight into artists or eras of artistic production you thought you knew, from a spotlight on Georgia O’Keeffe’s photography in Houston to a sweeping feminist art survey in Berkeley. 

Regardless of what city you’re in, this fall’s season of museum programming is bound to open both eyes and minds.


New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
August 28, 2021–January 30, 2022

Farah Al Qasimi, It’s Not Easy Being Seen 3 (2016). Courtesy the artist; The Third Line, Dubai; and Helena Anrather.

With 140 works by 76 artists and collectives, this exhibition at the U.C. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is one of the largest to date on contemporary feminist art, and will coincide with a year of public programming focused on feminist theory. Works by the likes of Laura Aguilar, Christina Quarles, Zanele Muholi, Wu Tsang, and Francesca Woodman are included, tackling such topics as the fragmented body, domesticity, female anger, and feminist utopias. 


Raúl de Nieves: The Treasure House of Memory
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
September 1, 2021–July 24, 2022

Raúl de Nieves, The Fable, which is composed of wonders, moves the more (2021). © Raúl de Nieves.

Multidisciplinary artist Raúl de Nieves is adored for his exuberant works that blend queer club culture, religious iconography, and folklore traditions from his native Mexico. Here, the artist continues his ongoing exploration of his culture and its traditions through a new body of work, created especially for the ICA, that looks at memory and personal transformation.

Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
September 3, 2021–January 9, 2022 

Nellie Mae Rowe, This World is Not My Home (1979). Photo courtesy of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Born in Georgia in 1900, the daughter of a formerly enslaved man, Rowe achieved fame as a self-taught folk artist. The first major exhibition devoted to Rowe in more than 20 years celebrates the late artist’s notable drawing career, which was only fostered later in her life, after the deaths of her husband and employer, in the 1960s. The museum bills the show as the first to position Rowe’s creative pursuit as a “radical act of self-expression and liberation in the post-civil rights-era South.”


Joan Mitchell
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
September 4, 2021–January 17, 2022

Joan Mitchell, Untitled (1992). Courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York.

This highly anticipated retrospective devoted to the queen of gestural abstraction contains over 80 works, encompassing everything from early paintings and drawings, sketchbooks, letters, and photographs to the large, color-drenched, multi-panel works that defined her later output.  


Selena Forever/Siempre Selena
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
September 4, 2021–January 10, 2022

John Dyer, Selena (1992). Courtesy of the artist.

At the height of the beloved Tejano singer’s fame, it was photographer John Dyer whom she entrusted to produce the images of her that were seared into the American pop-culture consciousness. Over the course of two collaborative photoshoots, in 1992 and ‘94, Dyer captured the legendary Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in her signature gemmed bustier and red lip, pictures that became immortal after her tragic death in 1995.


Bani Abidi: The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
September 4, 2021–June 5, 2022

Bani Abidi, An Unforeseen Situation 4. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Bani Abidi’s work infuses deadly serious subjects like militarism, nationalism, and memory with humor, holding up a mirror to power structures. The Pakistani artist, who lives in Karachi and Berlin, gets the survey treatment at the MCA, co-organized with the Sharjah Art Foundation, in a show that looks at over 20 years of her career and features new work alongside existing video, photography, and sound installations. 


Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen?
Museum of Modern Art, New York
September 18, 2021–January 30, 2022

Adam Pendleton, Untitled (WE ARE NOT) (2021). Image courtesy of the artist.

Pendleton, who has put forth a “Black Dada” framework inspired by Amiri Baraka, ambitiously takes over MoMA’s Marron Atrium with an immersive floor-to-ceiling installation described as a “spatial collage” containing text, image, and sound. All together, the show’s paintings, drawings, textiles, sculptures, and moving images seek to disrupt the 1:1 relationship of words and images, allowing a complex new vision of Blackness to emerge in abstraction.

The Art Institute of Chicago
September 19, 2021–January 24, 2022

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground) (1989), at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2013. Photo by Susan Broman via Flickr.

The prolific Pictures Generation artist has collaborated with the Art Institute to map out a survey of her entire career that takes up the whole of the museum’s 18,000-square-foot gallery space. It’s all here, and squirm-inducingly relevant: her trademark “pasteups,” works on vinyl, animations, and video installations, plus a new site-specific work in the adjoining atrium. On top of this, Kruger has created work for the city at large, making billboards and designs for the Chicago Transit Authority, among other organizations.


Naudline Pierre: What Could Be Has Not Yet Appeared
Dallas Museum of Art
September 26, 2021–May 15, 2022

Naudline Pierre, Lest You Fall (2019). Courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Pierre is known for her colorful canvases that depict ethereal beings and explore power struggles in intimate relationships. The Brooklyn-based painter’s first solo museum exhibition will consist of existing works—one of which was recently acquired by the DMA—as well as new creations, with five major paintings making their debut. 


Greater New York
MoMA PS1, New York
October 7, 2021–April 18, 2022

Robin Graubard, selection from “Peripheral Vision” (1979–2021). Image courtesy the artist and Office Baroque, Antwerp.

One of the hottest survey exhibitions of new art from across New York’s five boroughs is back for its fifth iteration. This latest edition, curated by Ruba Katrib with Serubiri Moses, Kate Fowle, and Inés Katzenstein, was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, but still promises to showcase the best of artists and collectives currently working in the Big Apple, including Carolyn Lazard, Alan Michelson, and BlackMass publishing.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
October 17, 2021–January 17, 2022

Georgia O’Keeffe, Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) (1964–68). © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

The artist best known for her paintings of flowers and Southwestern landscapes is recast here in the first exhibition to focus entirely on her photography, with nearly 100 prints from a newly examined archive to go on view. Described as a “Modernist approach” to the art form, O’Keeffe’s pictures document family members, fellow artists, and her travels. 


Soft Water Hard Stone
The New Museum, New York
October 28, 2021–January 23, 2022

Amalie Smith, Clay Theory (2019) (still). Courtesy of the artist.

The latest triennial from the downtown institution draws its title from a Brazilian proverb: “Água mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura,” meaning “soft water on hard stone hits until it bores a hole.” Curators Margot Norton and Jamillah James have translated this idea into an exhibition of 41 international artists focused on how systems we once considered infallible have been, in fact, proven fragile by recent global crises. 


My Barbarian
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
October 29, 2021–February 27, 2022

My Barbarian, Broke People’s Baroque Peoples’ Theater, 2011–15. Studio photograph, courtesy of the artists.

For the occasion of the performance trio’s 20th anniversary, the Whitney has commissioned a new filmic piece, Rose Bird, about California’s first female chief Supreme Court justice, to accompany this two-part survey of My Barbarian’s work. A series of live events—including a play, a festival, a cabaret-style concert, and a “rehearsal-as-performance”―will be enacted alongside an exhibition containing footage of previous performances, in addition to sculptures, paintings, drawings, masks, and puppets.

Michaela Eichwald
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
November 14, 2020–May 16, 2021

Michaela Eichwald, Die Unsrigen sind fortgezogen (The Ours Have Moved Away) (2014). Collection Brian Pietsch and Christopher Hermann.

The Berlin-based artist and writer, who is primarily a painter, marks her first solo exhibition in the United States with a presentation looking back at the past ten years of her career. Her palimpsest-like paintings, sculptures, and collages contain surprising materials like candy and chicken bones, and often allude to her interests in philosophy and literature.

Follow Midnight Publishing Group News on Facebook: