A full week of events celebrating the inauguration of Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis began Monday afternoon with the Opening Reception at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery in the Staller Center for the Arts, featuring the first Faculty Artist Spotlight with Distinguished Professor of Art Howardena Pindell and the traveling exhibition Dos Mundos: (Re)Constructing Narratives.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Judi Brown Clarke introduced McInnis, noting that she holds a bachelor’s degree with highest distinction in art history from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree and PhD in art history from Yale University. McInnis, who began her tenure as president on July 1, 2020, noted that she has been “looking forward to this moment, and the next week of events, for quite some time,” adding that the world had changed greatly in the past 18 months.
“I have watched this extended, Stony Brook family join together in celebration, in loss, in need, in purpose, in suffering, and in joy,” she said. “I have watched this university adapt to unparalleled challenges and endure through the darkest of times to ultimately build an even stronger community.”
McInnis then spoke about the art exhibits featured at the gallery, beginning with the “groundbreaking” work of Dos Mundos, curated by Juanita Lanzo and Stephanie Lindquist. The exhibit includes more than 40 photographs from 12 artists of color, exploring the intricate, complex narratives of struggle, migration and representation. “The photographs in Dos Mundos are unique unto themselves and from each other, and yet the exhibition possesses a distinctly narrative quality — stories needed to be told,” McInnis said.
The president turned her attention to Pindell, whose powerful work has been exhibited extensively, including a recent major museum solo traveling exhibition entitled Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen.
“I became aware of Howardena years ago through my scholarship in cultural history, and have been awe-struck by her art’s thoughtful, raw engagement with gender, identity, and race,” McInnis said, adding that “at times, her work sings with an unbridled joy and color. And at others, it turns our perspective inward toward the complex and often tangled threads of the human experience.”
McInnis described Pindell — who later delivered her own remarks on video — as a committed teacher at Stony Brook for more than 40 years. “Howardena has helped to define this university and spur our arts programs to search for new life, innovative forms, and deeper meaning,” she said.
McInnis concluded the ceremony by inviting attendees to a reception in the Zuccaire Gallery lobby.