Howardena Pindell in conversation with Anna Lovatt

Drawing Room is pleased to present the fourth film in a series of recorded conversations that derive from A Companion to Contemporary Drawing, a recently published book edited by Kelly Chorpening and Rebecca Fortnum, which explores how 20th and 21st century artists have used drawing to understand and comment on the world and features contributions from Drawing Room Co-Director Kate Macfarlane. The publication is available here.

This conversation features chapter author Anna Lovatt in conversation with artist Howardena Pindell. Her chapter argues that rather than rendering drawing obsolete or irrelevant, Conceptual art engaged critically with its conventions, and its history. These conventions included the material components of drawing, such as the instrument of inscription and the two‐dimensional support, along with techniques such as erasure, rubbing, tracing, delineating, and shading. They also encompassed the interpretative precepts established for drawing during the Renaissance, when the graphic trace came to be seen as a barometer of divine inspiration, artistic sensibility and technical skill. By challenging these conventions, artists including Mel Bochner, John Latham, Howardena Pindell, and Adrian Piper problematized the production, appreciation, and interpretation of drawing in the 1960s and 70s. 

Anna Lovatt is Assistant Professor of Art History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Her book Drawing Degree Zero: The Line from Minimal to Conceptual Art was published by Penn State University Press in 2019. In 2013 she curated the exhibition include Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature, which traveled from the Djanogly Art Gallery, University of Nottingham; to the Parrish Art Museum, New York; and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California. A book edited by Lovatt and published by Hatje Cantz accompanied this major survey of Stuart’s drawing practice.  
Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Howardena Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale University. After graduating, she accepted a job at the Museum of Modern Art, where she worked for 12 years, finishing her tenure there as an Associate Curator and Acting Director in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books. In 1979, she began teaching at the State University of New York, Stony Brook where she is now a full professor. Throughout her career, Pindell has exhibited extensively. Most recently, her work appeared in We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985 (2017, the Brooklyn Museum, New York). Her 2018 retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago titled Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen, traveled to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2018) and the Rose Art Museum (2019). Pindell’s work is in the permanent collections of major museums internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the National Gallery of Art; and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, among many others. 

Howardena PindellUntitled #84Private Collection, courtesy the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York 1977