The exhibition Adam Pendleton: Who Is Queen? will be on view at MoMA September 11, 2021–January 2, 2022.
“I'm particularly drawn to things that are crafted carefully. I think that’s how we articulate ourselves and manifest as being human—it is the care and attention we give to certain things. Food is, of course, at the foundation of that.” —Adam Pendleton
The care and attention behind a completed action can be sensed immediately. Food, what we prepare to eat, is a primary example of that experience. New York–based artist Adam Pendleton, toward the end of our interview, drew the conclusion that that’s what we had been talking about the whole time, through a range of subjects.
I started thinking about the little things. The small, everyday decisions we make throughout our day. It became a meditation—a way to approach life in general, familiarizing myself with the conscious moments between actions. To pause and think about my intention. To gently approach the moment and better understand what it might need in order to express itself.
“It speaks to the poetics of complexity. I think we’re very much living in a world where we’re looking for the one right thing, the one right idea, or the one right image—and there isn’t one. There are different things for different occasions and different moments. That articulates and expresses itself in our most basic needs—and that is food.”
That was one of my favorite parts of the interview because Adam drew that conclusion after talking about olive oil. He said that there isn’t a “right” kind of olive oil, but rather different kinds that work best in different kinds of food.
I often tell people that the quickest way to improve your cooking is to use good olive oil because it lets the main ingredient shine. I would describe it differently now—it is in the absence of poorly made olive oil that you will taste the food you make with more clarity.
By considering the needs of the food you are making, by being alert and receptive, you allow the dish, or anything else in your life, to culminate into its full expression of being.