new-york

Howardena Pindell

Sragow Gallery

Howardena Pindell tells a story about how, traveling through northern Kentucky and southern Ohio in the ’40s, she and her family were offered root beer mugs that had large red circles drawn on the bottom. When she asked her father what the circles meant, he told her that they denoted those mugs that African-Americans were allowed to drink from. Obviously affected by this experience, Pindell later recalled how, even though she was “weak” in math and started using numbers in her work only after an Ohio gallerist wondered how many “points or circles” appeared therein, she employed statistics in the ’80s and ’90s to analyze the number of artists of color exhibiting in museums and galleries in New York. More recently, she has worked on a painted installation incorporating clay numbers that stand for families broken up during slavery.

Pindell became active as an artist in the late ’60s and early

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