TRYON, N.C. — If you wanted to make a pilgrimage to the childhood home of W.E.B. Du Bois in Massachusetts or Malcolm X in Nebraska, you’d have to settle for a historical marker: The houses of those civil rights activists were lost before preservationists could save them, as many important African-American historical sites have been.
It’s a fate that easily could have met a humble three-room clapboard perched on a rise in this tiny, pretty town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, unknown even to many residents until a few years ago. For those who knew that 30 East Livingston Street was the birthplace of Tryon’s most famous resident — the singer, soul legend and civil rights icon Nina Simone — the house’s appearance on the market late last year crystallized fears that its existence, as stubborn as that of Simone herself, might be coming to an end.
Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) is a conceptual artist known for his multi-disciplinary practice, which moves fluidly between painting, publishing, photographic collage, video and performance. His work centers on an engagement with language, in both the figurative and literal senses, and the re-contextualization of history through appropriated imagery to establish alternative interpretations of the present and, as the artist has explained, “a future dynamic where new historical narratives and meanings can exist.” (Pace Gallery).