Performing for the Camera

Artists break the molds of video and also film, and also expand the limits of art.

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Intersecting Identities

Artists regularly attend to their multiple, intersecting identities in a job-related of art.


In 1979, after working in The Museum of Modern Art’s curatorial ranks for 12 years, artist Howardena Pindell remained in a car accident that left her through partial memory loss. Eight months later, throughout what she defines as “among the hottest summers in New York,”1 she put up a video camera in her apartment, focused it on herself, and also made Free, White and also 21, a deadpan account of the racism she knowledgeable coming of age as a babsence woman in America. She occurred the job-related out of her must heal and to vent: “My occupational in the studio after the accident helped me to rebuild absent pieces from the past….In the tape I was bristling at the women’s movement and the art civilization and also some of the usual offensive encounters that were heaped on top of the racism of my profession.”2

Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Pindell grew up when the South was still lawtotally segregated and racism was rampant nationwide. She was 21 once the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. In Free, White and 21, she illustprices the stark divide in between black and white Americans by appearing as both herself and also as a white woman. The video opens up through a glancing shot of the artist in whiteface and also wearing a blond wig, in the guise of a white woguy from the 1950s or 60s. This character is the complimentary, white, 21-year-old to which its title refers, that shows up throughout the video, discounting Pindell’s searing experiences via statements like, “you really should be paranoid,” and “you won’t exist until we validay you.”3

When she comes ondisplay screen as herself, Pindell first recounts the abusive racism that her mom sustained, and then talks viewers through the turning points of her own life—consisting of elementary and high school, college, and also young adulthood—by means of the discrimicountry that made her advance such a struggle. At one point, she peels a translucent film off of her face, as if to recommendation the facial masks and also various other cosmetic products marketed to woguys to beautify and also transcreate their looks. But this film has actually not changed the artist’s looks, and specifically not the color of her skin. Instead, it serves to re-emphadimension the fact that they were transcreated by a white-overcame Amerihave the right to society—right into a liability.

Howardena Pindell, quoted in Walker Art Center Collections, http://www.walkerart.org/collections/artists/howardena-doreen-pindell.
Howardena Pindell, quoted in Walker Art Center Collections, http://www.walkerart.org/collections/artists/howardena-doreen-pindell.
Howardena Pindell, quoted in Brooklyn Museum Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Feminist Art Base, http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/howardena_pindell.php.
Howardena Pindell, quoted in “Howardena Pindell,” Brandywine Workshop, http://brandywineworkshop.com/howardena-pindell/.

A video camera that captures relocating imperiods and also converts them into electronic signals so that they have the right to be saved on a storage gadget, such as videotape or a hard drive, or perceived on a monitor.

A term describing moving-image artfunctions recorded onto magnetic tape or digital layouts, or generated using other mechanisms such as image-processing devices, and also accessible for prompt playearlier.

1. A approach involving the use of two or more creative media, such as ink and also pastel or painting and collage, that are unified in a single composition; 2. A designation for an artist that works through a number of various creative media.

An photo, particularly a positive print, taped by exposing a photosensitive surchallenge to light, specifically in a video camera.


One who uses paint to canvas, wood, paper, or one more support to develop a snapshot.


A work of art made through a pencil, pen, crayon, charcoal, or various other implements, often consisting of lines and marks (noun); the act of developing a snapshot via pencil, pen, crayon, charcoal, or other implements (verb, gerund).

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A very closely woven, sturdy fabric of hemp, cotton, linen, or a comparable fiber, frequently stretched over a structure and also offered as a surface for painting.