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Shooting Star

Richmond native Adam Pendleton continues his rise on the New York art scene with a new MTV reality show. He’s also bought the building that housed the Page Bond Gallery as another studio.


One of the most successful Richmond-born artists you’ve probably never heard of will be judging a six-episode reality show that debuts on MTV and the Smithsonian Channel on March 7.

Art superstar Adam Pendleton, whose meteoritic climb to the upper echelons of the avant-garde art world is nothing short of unprecedented, joins six others for “The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist,” sponsored in part by the Hirshhorn Museum.

Twice named in Forbes Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30,” Pendleton grew up here, went to Collegiate School, graduated in 2002 two years early, studied in Italy, and landed in New York, ready to break out.

Now, at only 39, this widely original and provocative avant-garde creative has risen to the very top of his profession with solo shows at major museums, representation by top galleries around the world, and paintings that sell at Christies for over $600,000. Leo DiCaprio, Venus Williams and Michael Ovitz collect his work.

Pendleton also just purchased the building at 1625 W. Main St. in Richmond as one of six studios he keeps around the world [That building is known for housing the Page Bond Gallery, which will continue as a virtual gallery using an online platform, according to the owner]. Further south, the artist and some friends are saving legendary soul singer Nina Simone’s North Carolina home.

The empty Page Bond gallery at 1625 W. Main St. will become one of Pendleton's six studios. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • The empty Page Bond gallery at 1625 W. Main St. will become one of Pendleton's six studios.

As Richmond’s monuments were coming down in 2021, Pendleton transformed the five-level atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York into a towering installation of multi-platform thoughts and images, painful, powerful, personal. Called “Who Is Queen?” the exhibit featured musical fragments, poetry readings, and recordings from demonstrations that were looped over images of tortured moments and truths in America, particularly Richmond’s gruesome history. The New York Times called it his “most personal and ambitious show yet,” while noting that Pendleton was “best known as a painter of abstract canvases in a distinctive black-and-white style that challenge how we read language.”

Last September, the artist was one of three African-American men on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in a feature titled “Young, Queer, Gifted.” The following month, The New York Times covered “The Curious Case of the Alexander McQueen Graffiti Skirt” when Vogue Editor Anna Wintour was photographed wearing the designer’s skirt, which looks exactly like a Pendleton painting. He sued. “It’s a reproduction of a visual language I created, one that’s been shown in art galleries around the world.”

And in November, Pendleton is breaking ground at the Hirshhorn Museum next to legendary artists Laurie Anderson, Jeff Koons, and oddly enough, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

Set your recorder to MTV or the Smithsonian Channel to learn more and get to know and watch a Richmonder on the rise. The program runs right after “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect that Pendleton bought the building that housed the Page Bond Gallery, not the gallery itself, which will continue as a virtual gallery online.