Howardena Pindell


“Reigning over them all is Rope/Fire/Water, an overdue survey of Howardena Pindell’s alternating forays into abstract painting and politics…” — The Most Important Moments in Art in 2020, The New York Times

Rope/Fire/Water is about the brutality of racism and the healing power of art by American artist, Howardena Pindell (b.1943, Philadelphia).

This catalogue explores the dichotomy between her work in the exhibition’s titular video, which examines the history of lynching and state- sanctioned violence in the United States, and a selection of abstract and thematic paintings.

An essay situates the new video work in the trajectory of Pindell’s career and explores its relationship to the work of empathy and self-care important to the artist’s creation of her paintings.

An interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist, captures an early conversation with the artist about the exhibition’s film, an unrealized project of the artist’s since the 1970s.

A subsequent interview by Ashley James, documenting a conversation with the artist from summer 2020, delves into the exhibition as well as Pindell’s groundbreaking career as one of the first Black curators at the Museum of Modern Art.

Designed to evoke the tactility of Pindell’s paintings and her own process in making them, the catalogue’s soft fabric cover features a spine with exposed stitching and a custom typeface updated for this publication.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water at The Shed, New York (16 October 2020 – 11 April 2021).

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