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Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen (Aug. 25-Nov. 25, 2018) opened recently at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond. Howard Pindell is a trailblazer. She was the first black woman to earn an MFA from Yale University (1967). Shortly thereafter, she was hired at MoMA where she was the first black female curator.

Pindell’s five-decade practice explores the intersection of art and activism. The first major survey of the New York artist’s career, What Remains to be Seen presents paintings, works on paper, and video art—early figurative works, abstract and conceptual works, and personal and political art that emerged after a 1979 car accident that nearly took her life. Both her early and more more recent work particularly relevant and attuned to the current political climate.

“I think the thing I keep saying is true: Howardena’s work has not changed. The world has just caught up with her. …I think we are now in a time and a place where we are eager to hear what she has to say,” Valerie Cassel Oliver, co-curator of the exhibition and VMFA’s curator of modern and contemporary Art, recently said.

“There is an area in the exhibition that focuses on her work in activism, and it moves from inequities in the real estate market, which we are dealing with still, major cities especially. She’s dealing with issues of police brutality, which still exist; profiling, which still exists. It’s the unfortunate nature of things—the suppression of women and women’s voices still exists.”

What Remains to be Seen is co-curated by Naomi Beckwith, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where the exhibition opened earlier this year. Following its presentation at VMFA, the Pindell retrospective will be on view at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Weltham, Mass., in January 2019. 

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