Adam Pendleton Value: Top Prices Paid At Auction

What Is The Black Dada? by Adam Pendleton - MyArtBroker What Is The Black Dada? © Adam Pendleton 2020
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Adam Pendleton

Adam Pendleton

10 works

A prominent contemporary artist, Adam Pendleton emerged in the secondary market in 2010. At 28, he signed with Pace Gallery in 2012, becoming the gallery's youngest represented artist since the 1970s and is also associated with David Kordansky Gallery. Pendleton's entire artistic practice revolves around his philosophy of Black Dada, which aims to reinterpret historical narratives of blackness through words and visuals. Pendleton's art market peaked in 2021, and currently, there is a noticeable increase in his sales and inclusion in marquee auction sales, reflecting the growing recognition and demand for his work.

£509,211 for Untitled (Days)

($604,800 USD)

A large-scale canvas artwork by Adam Pendleton displaying monochromatic illegible words with scattered recognisable letters in disarray. The canvas is spray-painted and marked with gestural brushstrokes.Image © Christie's / Untitled (Days) © Adam Pendleton

Pendleton's Untitled (Days) (2020) captivates with its thought-provoking synthesis of collective ideas shaping our perception of time and space. Drips and splatters interplay, creating an abstract tapestry mingled with elusive, occasionally discernible words. Featured in Pendleton's debut solo exhibition in Geneva, titled Abstraction, it distinguished itself among eight new paintings, marking his venture into large-scale canvases. Untitled (Days) achieved a remarkable auction record for Pendleton, commanding £509,211 with fees at Christie's in November 2022, underscoring its significance and resonance in the art world.

£373,366 for Untitled (WE ARE NOT)

($504,000 USD)

Black and white spray-painted canvas with repeated words "WE ARE NOT" featuring drips between letters and cropping.Image © Sotheby's / Untitled (WE ARE NOT) © Adam Pendleton 2019-2020

Pendleton's Untitled (WE ARE NOT) (2019-2020) is a compelling exploration of contemporary themes through silkscreen ink and spray paint. Its horizontal layout enhances readability, drawing attention to the repeated phrase “WE ARE NOT.” Derived from Pendleton's Black Dada manifesto, the work sparks varied interpretations, suggesting understanding through negation. Several artworks from this series have achieved success in the secondary market, with sales at Sotheby's in November 2021 and May 2023 reaching £373,366 and £305,600 respectively (with fees), followed by another sale in October 2023 at Sotheby's Hong Kong.

£205,351 for Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy)

($277,200 USD)

Monochromatic black and white canvas featuring spray-painted vertical lines and stencil-cropped letters, hinting at the title “Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy),’’ with a screenprinted black and white photograph in the center.Image © Phillips / Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) © Adam Pendleton 2018

At the Our Ideas exhibition at Pace Gallery in 2018, Pendleton's Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) (2018) emerged as a standout piece within its eponymous series. These expansive canvases feature vertically spray-painted lines overlaid with stencilled fragmented letters, forming the title: “A Victim of American Democracy.” Inspired by Malcolm X's 1964 speech, Pendleton's concept of Black Dada, pervasive in his work, addresses both past and future. Rejecting definitive answers, his art aims for experiential and cognitive engagement. Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) fetched £205,351 with fees at Phillips in November 2021.

£200,000 for Black Dada/Column (K)

Matte black canvas with a luminous vertical sheen on the left side, running from top to bottom, and the letter ”K’’ positioned in the lower left-hand corner.Image © Sotheby’s / Black Dada/Column (K) © Adam Pendleton 2015

Pendleton’s artwork, such as Black Dada/Column (K) (2015), embodies a conceptual and minimalist approach to engage with decolonisation discourse. Departing from previous linguistic visualisations, Pendleton delves into the potency of absence, conveying critical theories through meticulous observation and materiality. Within this series, paintings feature a radiant black wash and a thick vertical line, each marked by a single letter. Through these works, Pendleton aims to articulate the intricacies and interconnectedness of black history, imparting political messages through conceptual aesthetics. Black Dada/Column (K) achieved a significant sale of £200,000 (with fees) at Sotheby’s in March 2019.

£170,899 for Black Dada (K)

($225,000 USD )

Image © Christie's / Black Dada (K) © Adam Pendleton 2017

Part of the same series as the previous work, Black Dada K (2012) shares a similar material composition—a mix of matte and gloss black wash. However, it differs in its diagonal strip and the altered positioning of the letter “K.” This piece delves into political history by juxtaposing black, with Pendleton's conceptual definition of the word ”dada“–symbolising the avant-garde movement. Sold for £170,899 at Christie's in 2017, it far exceeded the high estimate of £45,000, affirming its significance and resonance in the art market.

£155,596 for ok dada ok black dada ok (we are)

($203,500 USD)

White canvas spray-painted with intersecting vertical and horizontal black lines and stenciled spray-painted illegible words and recognisable letters.Image © Phillips / ok dada ok black dada ok (we are) © Adam Pendleton 2018

ok dada ok black dada ok (we are) (2018) merges diverse elements from Pendleton's artistic vocabulary. Words and letters scatter across a pristine white canvas, adorned with drips and spray paint, creating an enigmatic visual tapestry. Pendleton masterfully invokes ambiguity through singular words and rhetorical figures, prompting contemplation on the artwork's essence. Despite its obscurities, the brilliance of Pendleton's work captivates viewers, leading to profound reflections. ok dada ok black dada ok (we are) achieved remarkable success at Phillips, fetching £155,596 (with fees), significantly exceeding its high estimate of £61,000.

£141,281 for Ok Dada Ok Black Dada Ok

($177,800 USD)

Ok Dada Ok Black Dada Ok by Adam Pendleton Image © Sotheby's / Ok Dada Ok Black Dada Ok © Adam Pendleton 2004

Ok Dada Ok Black Dada Ok (2004) stands as one of Pendleton's earlier works, blending legible and illegible text. Notable words such as “IF,” “Naive,” and “OK” emerge, their interpretation left open-ended, aligning with Pendleton's aesthetic that blackness and whiteness transcend race, framed within an unfixed context. Pendleton's artistic brilliance lies in merging conceptual depth with fixed geometric compositions overlaid with disorderly words, letters, and symbols. Recently sold at Sotheby's May New York auctions, it commanded £141,281 (with fees), showcasing its enduring appeal and the resonance of Pendleton's conceptual artistry.

£125,000 for Black Dada (D)

Black dada (D) by Adam Pendleton Image © Christie's / Black Dada (D) © Adam Pendleton 2014

Another of Pendleton's black matte/gloss canvas works, Black Dada (D) (2014), ranks among his top-selling pieces, underscoring the appeal of this series on the secondary market. With a thick diagonal slash cutting through the canvas and the letter “D” positioned in the lower left corner, this composition exudes orderliness and sophistication. A part of Pendleton’s acclaimed Black Dada series, this work was exhibited in the Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and fetched £125,000 (with fees) at Christie's in June 2019.

£111,302 for Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy)

($138,600 USD)

Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) by Adam PendletonImage © Christie's / Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) © Adam Pendleton 2017

Belonging to the series A Victim Of American Democracy paintings, these large-scale works showcase enlarged, fragmented letters, prompting viewers to discern the complete word or phrase they belong to. Incorporating diverse techniques and mediums, including spray painting, photography, laser printing, collage, and screen printing, the compositions are layered across the canvas. Reflecting Pendleton's assertion that identity and politics are inherently fractured, this work sold for £111,302 (with fees) at Christie's New York sales in May 2023, highlighting their resonance and Pendleton's innovative approach to exploring socio-political themes.

£88,568 for Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy)

($856,800 HKD)

Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) by Adam Pendleton Image © Christie's / Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy) © Adam Pendleton 2016

Pendleton's A Victim of American Democracy Paintings enjoy remarkable popularity, including in international markets. Belonging to the same series, but slightly differing from the work above, this pieces is rendered on a large scale in a vertical format in a slightly darker palette. Pendleton utitlises the same enlarged cut-out letters, although spray-painted against smudged vertical lines. Sold at Christie's Hong Kong auction in May 2023, it fetched £88,568 (with fees), underscoring Pendleton's appeal in international markets.