“Instead of the history that we were taught, let’s look at the history that was hidden from us”
Podcast with artist Howardena PindellPublished 27 September 2018
The first major survey show of the 75-year-old artist Howardena Pindell opened earlier this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and is now on show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (“Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen” until 25 November). Pindell was one of the first black curators at the Museum of Modern Art and a cofounder of pioneering feminist gallery A.I.R. She worked in a mainly abstract style until an almost-fatal car accident in 1979 caused a shift in her art, which became more political and personal.
In the late 1980s, Pindell began researching the demographics of artists represented in New York museums and commercial galleries, presenting her findings in a 1987 paper called Statistics, Testimony and Supporting Documentation and then in a follow-up paper Commentary and Update of Gallery and Museum Statistics 1986-1997.
In many ways, this work was a precursor to the research In Other Words recently published with artnet News, so we invited Pindell onto the show to talk about what—if anything—has changed.
Click here for the full transcript
Charlotte Burns: Hello and welcome to In Other Words, where we cover everything you ever wanted to know about the art world but didn’t know who to ask. I’m your, host Charlotte Burns, and I’m joined today by the artist Howardena Pindell.
Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Howardena was trained as a painter at Boston University and Yale University. After graduating, she accepted a position at The Museum of Modern Art where she worked for 12 years between 1967 and 1979, then began teaching at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where she is a full professor.
Artist Howardena Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale University. After graduating, she worked from 1967 to 1979 at The Museum of Modern Art in the prints and illustrated books department. Pindell was also a co-founder of the pioneering feminist A.I.R. Gallery, which opened in New York in 1972. In 1979, she began teaching at the State University of New York, Stony Brook where she is now a full professor. Through varying media, Pindell’s art addressing social issues of homelessness, AIDs, war, genocide, sexism, xenophobia and apartheid.
Pindell’s work is currently the subject of a major survey at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, previously at the MCA Chicago (“Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen”, 2018). Other notable solo exhibitions include: Spelman College (1971, Atlanta); A.I.R. Gallery (1973, 1983, New York); Just Above Midtown (1977, New York); Lerner-Heller Gallery (1980, 1981, New York); The Studio Museum in Harlem (1986, New York); the Wadsworth Atheneum (1989, Hartford); Cyrus Gallery (1989, New York); G.R. N’Namdi Gallery (1992, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006, Chicago, Detroit, and New York); Garth Greenan Gallery, New York (2014); and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta (2015).
Her work has also been featured in many landmark museum exhibitions, such as: “Contemporary Black Artists in America” (1971, Whitney Museum of American Art), “Rooms” (1976, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center), “Another Generation” (1979, The Studio Museum in Harlem), “Afro-American Abstraction” (1980, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center), “The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s” (1990, New Museum of Contemporary Art), and “Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African-American Women Artists” (1996, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta).
executive editor of In Other Words
Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.
Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.
For More on Howardena Pindell
Howardena Pindell’s 1987 paper Statistics, Testimony, and Supporting Documentation
Her follow-up paper Commentary and Update of Gallery and Museum Statistics, 1986–1997
Her current exhibition “Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (until 25 November), previously at the MCA Chicago
“Full Circle: Howardena Pindell Steps Back into the Spotlight with a Traveling Retrospective” by Alex Greenberger in Artnews (6 February 2018
The live record
Behind the Scenes with Howardena Pindell