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In this episode, Ben Luke talks to Adam Pendleton about his influences—from the worlds of literature, music and, of course, art—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work.

Still from Adam Pendleton’s Notes on the Robert E. Lee Monument (2021)

Pendleton, born in 1984 in Richmond, Virginia, makes paintings, drawings, performances, films and other works exploring the relationship between Blackness, abstraction and histories of the avant-garde. He is perhaps best known for an ongoing body of work he calls Black Dada.

Installation view of Adam Pendleton’s As Heavy As Sculpture in “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” (2021)

He discusses the influences behind Black Dada, from the poetry of Amiri Baraka to the sculpture of Sol LeWitt, reflects on the drawings of Jean Dubuffet and the drafts and revisions of Joan Jonas’s work, and enthuses about the power of Nina Simone’s voice and Julius Eastman’s compositions. Plus, he gives insight into his studio life and answers the ultimate question: what is art for?

• Adam Pendleton: In Abstraction, Pace Gallery, Geneva, 7 September-5 October

• Adam Pendleton: Toy Soldier, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, 10 September-26 November.

• Whitney Biennial: Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, until 5 September.

• Adam Pendleton, Mumok, Vienna, 31 March-10 September 2023.

The next series of A brush with… will run from 14 September-5 October, with episodes released on Wednesdays. You can download and subscribe to the podcast here. This podcast is sponsored byBloomberg Connects.

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