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owardena Pindell is described as a curators dream artist for she once was a curator at the Museum of Modern art. Pindell’s 25 pound, unstretched canvas is created in such a way that her work is hung with 

 instructed precision and will be preserved through a long time. Pindell’s current show, Rope/Fire/Water, at the Shed has been strategically curated by Adeze Wilford. The Shed is a not collecting institution, but one that wishes to work with artists and creatives. As Pindell is 77 and resistant to let a lot of people into her studio, Wilford and her team worked through shared photos and videos of her paintings to predict the layout of the gallery. Wilford believes that a museum is meant to be curated for the people.

All the works in the show have been specially made just for the Shed. The show is named after Pindell’s video Rope/Fire/Water. The video was finished in January, and the exhibition was initially talked about in 2017. Honored to be working with Pindell on this project was amplified by the current social climate. Pindell wanted the show to be opened before November’s election due to the current administration.

Wilford described Pindell’s inclination to learn. Howardena Pindell is constantly researching to bring her found knowledge into her work with the help of her mentors from each subject she wishes to learn about. Pindell’s current exhibition focuses on the peoples killed by domestic terrorist and police brutality, and the violence done to indigenous peoples during early American colonization. People being dismembered is a motif seen throughout history. The use of cut canvas in the shape of hands make up the background of hanging images with casted hands sitting in the front of the piece Four Little Girls. The use data and statistics to present non-subjective material which cannot be disputed is seen in the listing of black churches that were burned.

Wilford felt that the show must be curated to include Pindell’s pastel colored abstract paintings, as a breather to the public after witnessing the black harm, American traumas, and historic atrocities. The glistening abstract pieces are for respite for Pindell. Plankton Lace, inspired by plankton oxygen, are intentionally beautiful, shiny pieces with dimension. 

“Pindell intentionally makes something beautiful so to sustain working through these difficult motivational works”

Columbus (detail), 2020. Mixed media on canvas. 108 x 120 inches (hands: dimensions variable). Commissioned by The Shed. Courtesy the artist, Garth Greenan Gallery, and Victoria Miro Gallery.
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