Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Howardena Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale University. After graduating, she accepted a job in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern Art, where she remained for 12 years (1967–79). 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. Notable solo exhibitions include: Spelman College, Atlanta (1971), A.I.R. Gallery, New York (1973, 1983), Just Above Midtown, New York (1977), Lerner-Heller Gallery, New York (1980, 1981), The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1986), Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (1989), Cyrus Gallery, New York (1989), G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Chicago/Detroit/New York (1992, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006), Garth Greenan Gallery, New York (2014), and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta (2015).
Howardena Pindell’s work has been featured in many landmark museum exhibitions, including: Contemporary Black Artists in America (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1971), Rooms (P.S.1, Flushing, NY, 1976), Another Generation (The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1979), Afro-American Abstraction (P.S.1, New York, 1980), The Decade Show: Frameworks of Identity in the 1980s (New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 1990), and Bearing Witness: Contemporary Works by African American Women Artists (Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, 1996).
Most recently, Pindell’s work appeared in: We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965–85 (Brooklyn Museum, 2017), Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980 (The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2006), High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975 (Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, 2006), WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2007), Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949–78 (Seattle Art Museum, 2009), Black in the Abstract: Part I: Epistrophy (Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2013), and Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age (Museum Brandhorst and Museum Moderner Kunst, 2015–16).
Pindell’s work is in the permanent collections of major museums internationally, including: Brooklyn Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.