Howardena Pindell: New Perspectives

Join Kettle’s Yard, the Centre for American Art at The Courtauld, and the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge for this conference on Howardena Pindell’s practice, on the occasion of her retrospective at Kettle’s Yard. The exhibition brings together work from Pindell’s six decade long career including paintings, works on paper and video. The exhibition tracks the development of Pindell’s artistic language and examines her work as exemplary in articulating empowerment.

This conference will bring together an international group of prominent academics and curators to discuss Pindell’s long history of art and activism, including Naomi Beckwith (Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), Professor Sarah Louise Cowan (DePauw University), Professor Briony Fer (University College London), Professor Joan Kee (University of Michigan), and Helena Vilalta (PhD Candidate, University College London). Speakers will address a wide range of aspects of Pindell’s multidisciplinary practice, including her resignification of abstraction with relation to the Black Arts Movement and the Women’s Movement, her work in east Asia, and her engagement with systems aesthetics.

There is space for 30 in-person attendees, with lunch included, and the option to register to view the conference via Livestream. There will be a video recording available online after the conference. Registration is free.

Organised by Dr Amy Tobin (Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Curator, Contemporary Programmes, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge; Director of Studies in History of Art and Fellow at Newnham College) and Professor Jo Applin (Professor in History of Art, The Courtauld), with the assistance of Jamie Danis (PhD Candidate in the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge; Sydney Ehrman Fellow and King’s College and Cambridge Trust Scholar).

This event has passed.

30 Sep 2022

Friday 30th September 2022, 10am - 5pm BST

Free, booking essential

Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, Castle Street, Cambridge, CB3 0AQ


Naomi Beckwith is Deputy Director and Jennifer & David Stockman Chief Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. Previously, she has held curatorial positions at the MCA Chicago and the Studio Museum in Harlem. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Beckwith has organized and co-organized acclaimed exhibitions such as the award-winning Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, the first survey of the artist. Beckwith also developed solo shows with artists such as Yinka Shonibare CBE and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Her exhibitions and publications have centered on the impact of identity and multidisciplinary practices within contemporary art.

Sarah Louise Cowan is Assistant Professor of Art and Art History at Depauw University. She researches modern and contemporary art of the Americas with a focus on the African diaspora and feminist art. Her forthcoming book, Howardena Pindell: Reclaiming Abstraction (Yale University Press, October 2022), offers the first scholarly monograph on artist Howardena Pindell and develops the concept of Black feminist modernisms. An article she wrote about Pindell’s cut and sewn paintings of the 1970s appeared in the winter 2020 issue of Art Journal.

Briony Fer is Professor of History of Art at University College London and a Fellow of the British Academy. She graduated from Sussex University with BA Hons in 1979. She then went on to the Department of History of History and Theory of Art at Essex University where she was awarded her PhD in 1988. In 1980 she joined the History of Art Department at the Open University as a Lecturer working on groundbreaking courses there and publishing essays in the Modernity and Modernism textbooks. She joined University College in 1990 and was made a Reader in 1997 and Professor in 2005. She has published extensively on 20th century and contemporary art.

Joan Kee is Professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Ford Foundation Scholar in Residence at the Museum of Modern Art.  Her newest book, The Geometries of Afro Asia: Art Beyond Solidarity is forthcoming from the University of California Press in 2023.  Spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, Kee looks at the relationships that formed between Black and Asian artists at critical historical junctures from the 1960s to the present. Kee is also a contributing editor at Artforum and an advisory board member of Art History and the Oxford Art Journal.

Helena Vilalta is a completing PhD student in History of Art at University College London, working on a thesis titled ‘Embodying Information: Lee Lozano, Adrian Piper and Howardena Pindell’, supervised by Prof Briony Fer. She is also co-Pathway Leader of the Masters of Research in Exhibition Studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She is a former editor of Afterall journal and in 2018–19 was a Terra Foundation Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Photograph of lots of small pieces of paper with writing on them in a pile
Howardena Pindell, Text, 1975. Ink on paper collage, 18.1 x 31.1 cm. Courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York.
Centre for American Art logo Logo for the University of Cambridge Department of Art History including a coat of arms