The Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, one of the country’s leading M.F.A. programs, has named Kymberly Pinder as its new dean. She will be the first woman of color and the second woman to hold the post in the school’s 150-year history. Pinder will begin as dean on July 1, and she succeeds Marta Kuzma, who was named dean in 2016.
A graduate of Yale, Pinder received her Ph.D. from the university’s art history department in 1995. She is currently the acting president of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) and was previously that institution’s provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
Prior to her time at MassArt, Pinder was dean of the University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts and served as chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism and director of the graduate program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In a statement, Pinder said, “The Yale School of Art provides an unmatched platform for promoting excellence while effecting positive change. I look forward to working with colleagues and students across the campus, the city, and the globe to extend the boundaries of arts practice and education. Objects and their making unlock and shape dialogues in some of the most transformative ways for both makers and viewers.”
Pinder is an expert on muralism and public art, and is widely recognized for her work focused on race and representation. Her 2016 book Painting the Gospel: Black Public Art and Religion in Chicago looked at the ways in which images of Black people created by Black artists have empowered communities in Chicago.
A 2002 anthology she edited, Race-ing Art History: Critical Readings in Race and Art History, is considered pioneering for its analysis of racial representation throughout art history. That book included essays by Okwui Enwezor, Linda Nochlin, bell hooks, Cornel West, Rasheed Araeen, Anna C. Chave, and others.
“Pinder is widely known for her deep commitment to teaching, which is rooted in her belief that an education is key to social mobility and to finding solutions to local and national challenges,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a letter to the university’s community. “As she encourages students to pursue excellence and nurtures their artistic aspirations, she also teaches them to examine carefully every facet of society.”