Adam Pendleton – Crazy Nigger

Adam Pendleton - Crazy Nigger (for Julius Eastman) - 2018

Adam Pendleton - Crazy Nigger (for Julius Eastman) - 2018On the occasion of the largest overview of composer Julius Eastman’s work to date—titled “Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental” and taking place at The Kitchen, January 19–February 10, 2018—artist Adam Pendleton created this special limited-edition print. Proceeds from the sale of this limited edition directly support this landmark project celebrating the life, work, and resurgent influence of Julius Eastman (1940–1990), a gay African-American composer and performer who was active internationally in the 1970s and ’80s (when he frequently performed at The Kitchen) but who died homeless at the age of 49, leaving behind an incomplete but compelling collection of scores and recordings that are receiving newfound acclaim.

Preparing to make the work from Eastman archival materials (including a sampling of Eastman’s handwritten notes), Pendleton chose to respond to the jarring titles of the composer’s most iconic pieces—such as Gay Guerrilla, Femenine, Nigger Faggot, Evil Nigger, Crazy Nigger—in which the composer layers confrontational language and implicit commentary atop the otherwise predominantly formal subversion of minimalist music. In this regard, Eastman’s work would assert identity politics well before the mainstream art world to take issues of marginalization—or any spheres beyond heterosexual whiteness—seriously at all in practice.
On his choice of the N-word in his titles, Eastman said, “Now, the reason I use that particular word is because, for me, it has what I call a ‘basicness’ about it. That is to say, I feel that in any case, the first niggers were of course field niggers, and upon that is really the basis of what I call the American economic system. Without field niggers, you wouldn’t really have such a great and grand economy that we have. So that is what I call the first and great nigger, field niggers. And what I mean by niggers is that thing which is fundamental, that person or thing that attains a ‘basicness,’ a ‘fundamentalness,’ and it eschews that thing that is superficial or, what can we say, elegant. So a nigger for me is that kind of thing which is attains himself or herself to the ground of anything.”

Adam Pendleton himself added, "Julius Eastman created a space for new kinds of language and bodies in relationship to minimalism, and his presence, as a composer, disrupts a historical cannon that might otherwise be too easily articulated. I'd like to think, that by virtue of being a gay guerrilla I can also rightfully claim to be a crazy nigger."

Medium: Silkscreen ink on paper
Size: 31 x 24 inches / 86.4 x 60.9 cm
Edition of 20 + 5 AP
Signed and numbered verso
Price: $1000

This limited edition Adam Pendleton print is available at The Kitchen

Leave a Reply