Coinciding the exhibition Howardena Pindell’s A Renewed Language at IMMA, this talk examines some of the most inspiring works of figuration, abstraction and conceptualism by Howardena Pindell. This keynote talk offers a reflection on lesser-known feminist art histories and identity politics that underpins the arc of Pindell’s extraordinary life and varied career as artist, curator and educator.
Since the 1970s, Howardena Pindell’s work spans painting, video and mixed media to examine a wide range of subject matter, from the personal and diaristic to the social and political. Texture, colour, structure and process are employed in Pindell’s work to mine history (and hidden histories) and address intersecting issues such as racism, feminism, violence and exploitation. Beckwith will consider how the subject matter of the artist’s work combined with the employment of unconventional materials such as glitter, talcum powder, even perfume, further necessitates a rethink of the modernist canon and its history.
Following this talk, Naomi Beckwith is joined in conversation with Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA, for further reflection on the significance of Pindell’s life and work, and the influences that continue to inspire Beckwith’s interests as a leading international curator.
Naomi Beckwith, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Guggenheim, NYC
In her role as Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Beckwith oversees collections, exhibitions, publications, and curatorial programs and archives at the Guggenheim Museum, and provides strategic direction within the international network of affiliate museums for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Beckwith works closely with the Director, Trustees, and staff on planning and implementing strategy across the museum and on its global initiatives and plays an instrumental role in shaping the museum’s vision.
Prior to the Guggenheim, Beckwith held positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, where she has held curatorial posts since 2011 and served as Manilow Senior Curator since 2018. During her tenure at the MCA, her exhibitions and publications have centered on the impact of identity and the resonance of Black culture on multidisciplinary practices within global contemporary art. She organized and co-organized acclaimed exhibitions such as Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, the first survey of the artist, and whose catalogue received the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award. Beckwith also developed The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now and Homebodies, as well as solo shows on The Propeller Group, Keren Cytter, Leslie Hewitt, William J. O’Brien, and Jimmy Robert; and a project with Yinka Shonibare CBE. Before joining the MCA, Beckwith was Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she organized exhibitions such as Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Preoccupations (2011) and 30 Seconds off an Inch (2009–10).
Beckwith is a member of the curatorial team realizing Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, an exhibition conceived by the late curator Okwui Enwezor for the New Museum. Other recent shows include The Long Dream, a presentation of 70 Chicago artists organized in response to the pandemic and social unrest; Prisoner of Love, centered around Arthur Jafa’s video phenomenon Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death; and Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera, a retrospective that traveled from the Museum of Modern Art Fort Worth.
Beckwith serves on the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Laundromat Project, and chaired the inaugural Curatorial Leadership Summit at the Armory Show in 2018. She has received fellowships at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Center for Curatorial Leadership, and other institutions. Beckwith holds an MA, with Distinction, from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and a BA in history from Northwestern University in Chicago.
Annie Fletcher, Director, IMMA
Annie Fletcher is the Director of IMMA. A noted International Curator, Annie joined IMMA from the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands where she was Chief Curator.
Most recently Annie Fletcher curated the major touring exhibition project by The Otolith Group: Xenogenesis, by the London-based artist collective founded in London in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. The exhibition originated at the Van Abbemuseum, the Netherlands, and toured to Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne; Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkove, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Exhibition architecture is by Diogo Passarinho Studio.
Annie Fletcher has extensive leadership experience in the contemporary arts. In addition to her role as Chief Curator at Van Abbemuseum she is a tutor at de Appel, Amsterdam, the Dutch Art Institute (DAI) and the Design Academy Eindhoven, and regularly worked with art institutions around the world including the SALT Istanbul, New Museum, New York, and L’Internationale network and De Appel Art Centre, Amsterdam. In 2012 she was Curator of Ireland’s Contemporary Art biennale EVA International and is regularly called upon to sit on major International juries, including the Turner Prize in 2014 and the selection committee for the Irish Pavilion at Venice in 2016.
Born in Ireland, Fletcher studied in Trinity College Dublin and started her career in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in 1994. She was Acting Head of Exhibitions in IMMA in 2001-2002 where she produced, among other projects, the seminal performance art weekend Marking the Territory. Curated by Marina Abramovic this three day event attracted capacity audiences to the museum. She partnered with IMMA, and then Director Sarah Glennie, on several exhibitions over the past five years, including solo presentations of Duncan Campbell and Sheela Gowda and most recently co-curated the 2016 IMMA group exhibition El Lissitzky: the Artist and the State with work from Rosella Biscotti, Nuria Guell, Alice Milligan, Sarah Pierce and Hito Steyerl, and is very much looking forward to returning to IMMA to lead the museum into its next phase. As a curator she is particular interested in how an encounter with art can generate a shared civic space and how, in today’s world, contemporary art can address complex ideas of time, space and participation in order to achieve resonance with the public.
HOWARDENA PINDELL, A RENEWED LANGUAGE
30 Jun 2023–30 Oct 2023
Main Galleries, West Wing
IMMA is delighted to present Howardena Pindell’s first solo exhibition in Ireland. Embellishing the language of minimalism – of circles, grids, tallies and repetition – in a visibly laborious process of hole-punching, spraying, cutting, sewing, and numbering, Pindell creates works with complex and sumptuous material surfaces.
Now in her 80th year, Howardena Pindell continues to create art that deals with issues including enslavement, violence against indigenous populations, police brutality, the AIDS crisis and climate change. Alongside the paintings and works on paper of past and more recent works, the exhibition includes two videos that frame a long career – Free, White and 21 (1980) and Rope/Fire/Water (2020). These works tackle the pervasiveness of racial inequality, drawing on Pindell’s own experiences and on her collation of historical data relating to segregation, discrimination and race-based violence in America. More details here
Coinciding with the exhibition A Renewed Language, this talk examines some of the most inspiring works of figuration, abstraction and conceptualism by Howardena Pindell. This keynote talk, by Naomi Beckwith, Chief Curator, Guggenheim, NYC, offers a reflection on lesser-known feminist art histories and identity politics that underpins the arc of Pindell’s extraordinary life and varied career as artist, curator and educator.
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