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Artist Talk: A de Young Open Virtual Event with Mildred Howard

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Photograph of Mildred Howard

Image courtesy of Mildred Howard

In the third installment of our three-part virtual event series, go behind-the-scenes of The de Young Open with Mildred Howard, one of the renowned artists who served as jurors for our upcoming invitational exhibition for Bay Area artists. Howard will be in discussion with Claudia Schmuckli, curator in charge of contemporary art and programming, to discuss the ways in which community is at the heart of Howard's work through her extensive and highly decorated public art career and in her production of sculpture, assemblage, and works on paper.   

About the Speakers

Mildred Howard

Bay Area-based artist, activist, and educator Mildred Howard has consistently engaged and served her community for more than forty years as a professional artist. Besides having taught at every major art institution and university in the area, including the San Francisco Art Institute, Howard has worked extensively in schools and with at-risk and underserved populations such as the homeless and the incarcerated. She continues to put the faces, voices, hopes and dreams of her community at the very heart of her work, whether in her extensive and highly decorated public art career or in her consistent production of sculpture, assemblage, and works on paper.

Howard is a highly visible figure in the landscape of public art in the Bay Area, with permanent large-scale works at the San Francisco Airport, in the Western Addition and in downtown San Francisco. Her Moving Richmond, a work in which a poem by Macarthur Fellow Ishmael Reed was incised into two forty-foot walls of faceted steel, can be seen at Richmond, California’s BART Station. Howard has received numerous awards including an NEA Grant in Sculpture, two Rockefeller Artist's Fellowships, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship and an Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship. Her work is included in major collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the de Young Museum, and has been widely exhibited internationally at venues in Cairo, Berlin, Paris, London, Egypt, Ghana, and Morocco. She also spent eleven years working in the Institute for Inquiry at the Exploratorium integrating and developing curriculum in Art & Science. Howard has been represented by Gallery Anglim Gilbert for twenty-five years. Her large piece The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own, will be mounted in Battery Park City Authority in 2020. In 2011, the City of Berkeley proclaimed March 29th “Mildred Howard Day”; in 2012, Howard was inducted into the Alameda County Hall of Fame and received San Francisco's prestigious Silver SPUR Award. Howard is a pillar of the Bay Area art world whose diverse outputs as an artist, educator, and activist are singularly linked by an unswerving dedication to the equally diverse communities that surround her.

Claudia Schmuckli

Claudia Schmuckli is the inaugural Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Since joining the Museums in 2016, she has developed a dynamic and innovative program including  dialogical exhibitions and commissions featuring DIS, Sarah Lucas, Urs Fischer, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Leonardo Drew, Matt Mullican, Ranu Mukherjee, and Alexandre Singh. Most recently she curated Specter of Disruption, an exhibition drawn from the Museums’ Collections connecting the geological and colonial underpinnings of the de Young Museum to the current conditions in Northern California, and Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, the first major museum exhibition in the United States to reflect on the political and philosophical stakes of artificial intelligence from an artistic perspective. Previously, she was Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, where she organized over thirty exhibitions including solo shows dedicated to Matthew Ronay, Analia Saban, Slavs and Tatars, Candice Breitz, Tony Feher, Johan Grimonprez, Gabriel Kuri, Chantal Akerman, and Amy Sillman among many others. Schmuckli began her career in New York as a Curatorial Assistant at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and an Assistant Curator at the Museum of Modern Art. She is a Swiss citizen and holds a Master of Arts degree in art history from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany.

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(415) 750-3636