“I’ve been mourning the shows that closed in March,” says the artist Adam Pendleton. “There’s this feeling of missed opportunity. But you also realize how we take things for granted, saying, ‘Oh, I’ll see that next weekend.’ All of a sudden that’s not a possibility.”
As art institutions begin to reopen, however, Pendleton—who has spent recent weeks working on his debut show for the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles, set to open in November—is looking forward to one exhibition in particular: a 30-year survey of the work of Nayland Blake slated to open at MIT’s List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 16.
“Nayland has taken a critical view of how he functions in the world over many decades—always ahead of where culture has been in terms of rethinking binary notions of gender, race, and sexuality,” Pendleton says. “I consider him to be a conceptual artist who makes sculpture, but he also makes drawings that play with styles from cartoons to graffiti.”
It’s work that benefits from being seen outside the virtual viewing rooms that have dominated recent gallery exhibitions and art fairs. “Sculpture is one of the mediums that you really have to see in person,” Pendleton says. “You can see an image and begin to meditate on the ideas it’s trying to communicate, but sometimes you need the sharp edge of experiencing art firsthand.”
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