Image: Installation view, Howardena Pindell: Free, White and 21. Photo by Mitro Hood.

Howardena Pindell: Free, White and 21


Howardena Pindell’s influential video Free, White and 21 (1980) voices complex and conflicting perspectives on race and gender. The 12-minute work was created in 1979 after a car accident left the artist with partial memory loss. Eight months later, she set up a video camera in her apartment, focused it on herself, and created a deadpan account of the racism she experienced coming of age as a black woman in America. She told the Walker Art Center that she developed the work out of her need to heal and to vent: “My work in the studio after the accident helped me to reconstruct missing fragments from the past … In the tape I was bristling at the women’s movement, as well as the art world, and some of the usual offensive encounters that were heaped on top of the racism of my profession.”

Curated by Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Curator and Stony Brook University Thaw Chair of Modern Art