Symposia in Partnership
September 14-December 6, 2019
Curated by Annie Buckley
Artists: Karla Diaz, Stan Hunter, Peter Merts, Javier Quintero, Tony Ramirez, Paul Rucker, Gregory Sale, Noelle Swan, Robert Yovanov
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Where does art fit into all of this? How can the arts disrupt cycles of trauma and promote healing and connection, inspire education and social change? Within the strict confines and jagged social structure of the American prison system, art plays a particularly poignant and pressing role. It is often the only outlet an individual stripped of rights has to give voice to thoughts and ideas, memories and dreams. For contemporary artists beyond the walls, art can be a means to critique, dialogue, and imagine solutions to the intractable problems of the prison industrial complex.
Disruption! brings together artists directly impacted by the system with artists that address it in their work.
Ashley Hunt’s current project, Degrees of Visibility, is a large body of landscape photographs made in locations throughout the fifty U.S. states and territories, which documents the spaces in which prisons are embedded. Observed from publicly accessible points of view, Hunt’s photographs look at how prisons are presented and camouflaged within our everyday perception and how they contribute to an aesthetics of mass incarceration.
This body of work is part of Hunt’s ongoing examination of how images, objects, maps, writing and performance can engage social ideas and actions, including those of social movements, daily life, the exercise of political power, and the disciplinary boundaries that separate our art worlds from the larger worlds in which they sit. His work looks to structures that allow people to accumulate power, and those which keep others from getting it, while learning from the ways people come to know, contribute to or resist these structures. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as mutual and complementary—drawing upon the ideas and aesthetics of social movements, cultural theory and art alike, the theorizing and practices of each informing the other.