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artists' books collection

becoming imperceptible, by adam pendleton

Adam Pendleton, Becoming Imperceptible. (Los Angeles:  Siglio, 2016)

Becoming Imperceptible  is the first in a collaborative series of artist’s books in which each year Siglio and Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans invite an artist to intervene in the history and space of the book in conjunction with an exhibition at CAC. 

“Becoming Imperceptible takes its name from the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, with whose philosophical works Pendleton has long engaged, and positions Pendleton’s practice as a kind of counter-portraiture. If traditional portraiture figures the subject in contrast to or against its background, Pendleton’s works aim to disappear or camouflage the subject amid constantly alternating surfaces. Becoming Imperceptible welcomes its audiences at once into the history of Civil Rights and Black Resistance movements, Black aesthetic tradition, and the historical avant-garde. It calls on histories that have indelibly shaped American culture as it opens up a rigorous conversation about system and form in the European, African, and American avant-gardes of the last century.” (

Reframed, reconditioned, and perpetually reoccurring, found images have served as Adam Pendleton’s primary tools and source material throughout his practice. Adam Pendleton: Becoming Imperceptible follows the logic of Pendleton’s museum installations, constructing social and aesthetic histories, comprised of images in process and inscribed in the structure of their container. Including Pendleton’s texts “Black Dada” and “Amiri Baraka,” and drawing on a diverse archive that traverses European, African and American avant-gardes and civil rights movements of the last century—from Dada and Bauhaus to Black Lives Matter literature, from Language poetry to Black Power poetics, from Conceptual art to African Independence movements—Becoming Imperceptible frames a complex dialogue between culture and system. It also embodies Pendleton’s practice by inviting the reader in an unfolding conversation about race and history, art and form.   (

 The inserted, bound-in booklet includes the essays: "The disobedient copyist: Adam Pendleton's language" by Andrea Andersson, "Under a high-flying flag" by Naomi Beckwith, "The method of freedom: abstraction in the work of Adam Pendleton" by Stephen Squibb, and "Black lives matter" by Kitty Scott.