The Independent art fair may be devoted mainly to young and emerging artists, but this year, it also has some wonderful art by a giant of postwar abstraction. At Garth Greenan’s booth, works from Howardena Pindell’s “Video Drawings” series from the mid-1970s are on view for the first time publicly in New York since 1976.
They were last seen in New York in P.S. 1’s landmark “Rooms” exhibition, for which artists were each given a single room in an exhibition that restaged the former public school into the art space it remains today. There, Pindell showed these works for which she placed transparencies over TV screens, drew arrows and numbers, and then photographed them with the screen underneath. Most of the images beneath the transparencies were sports events; the arrows seem to mimic athletes’ movements.
After showing at “Rooms,” the “Video Drawings” traveled in 1976 to a show at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then remained unseen for decades. In 2013, they were the subject of a show at Boston’s Howard Yezerski Gallery. Two years later, some could be seen in Pindell’s first West Coast solo show, at Los Angeles’s Honor Fraser gallery.
The occasion to see them now is momentous, especially with a number of younger artists exploring the nature of screens. Look no further for proof of that than Triple Canopy’s booth at Independent, which is devoted to Cory Arcangel’s meme-like prints and sculptures. With artists still working through how we look at images in a world after the internet, Pindell’s work seems ever more relevant.