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.