Barring Freedom at San José Museum of Art

October 30, 2020- April 25, 2021

  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Sherrill Roland, Contraband series, 2019. Razor, ink pen cartridge, cinnamon floss, paperclip. Jumpsuit Project, 2016–ongoing. Jumpsuit on wooden hanger, four framed photographs, orange duct tape. (Image 1 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: American Artist, Blue Life Seminar, 2019. HD video. I’m Blue, 2019. School desk, hardware, ballistic shield. blue are the words i say and what i think, 2019. Aluminum, wood, hardware, and navy blue fabric. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 2 of 13)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. Deana Lawson, Mohawk Correctional Facility, 2012-2014. Digital prints. Ashley Hunt, Degrees of Invisibility, 2013–ongoing. Installation of framed and unframed prints, stacks of newspaper, and shipping crates. (Image 3 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Sherrill Roland, Contraband series, 2019. Jumpsuit Project, 2016–ongoing. Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction Project, 2019. Etching and silkscreen on paper. Sonya Clark, Edifice and Mortar, 2018. Hand-stamped bricks, human hair, and glass. Three-fifths, 2010. Cloth and thread. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 4 of 12)
  • Detail of Sonya Clark, Edifice and Mortar, 2018. Hand-stamped bricks, human hair, and glass. Courtesy of the artist. (Image 5 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. Chandra McCormick, Men Going to Work in the Fields of Angola, 2014. Archival pigment print. (Image 6 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. Dread Scott, Stop, 2012. 2-channel HD video. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 7 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Sharon Daniel, Undoing Time/Amends/Excessive Force, 2020. Embroidered American Flag. Levester Williams, Tar Ball, 2014. Unclean bed sheets from a Virginian adult penitentiary, tar, flies, other media. Dread Scott, Stop, 2012. 2-channel HD video. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 8 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Sanford Biggers, Infinite Tabernacle, HD video installation, carpet. BAM (Seated Warrior), 2016. Polished bronze. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 9 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Patrice Renee Washington, Anti-Grip Supremacist Resistance Trainer 5000, 2016. Glazed stoneware. Coded Mechanisms, 2017. Glazed ceramic, chain, PVC, and hardware. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 10 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Sadie Barnette, FBI Drawings: No Violence, 2020. Graphite on paper. Ashley Hunt, Degrees of Invisibility, 2013–ongoing. Installation of framed and unframed prints, stacks of newspaper, and shipping crates. jackie sumell, The House That Herman Built, 2008. Cell, letters, architectural model, audio, drawing. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 11 of 12)
  • Installation photography of Barring Freedom. From left to right: Chandra McCormick, Untitled (wrestling the bull), 2013. Archival pigment print. Untitled (people in the stand), 2013. Archival pigment print. Waiting for the bull, men waiting to participate in the Angola rodeo, 2013. Archival pigment print. Sonya Clark, Edifice and Mortar, 2018. Hand-stamped bricks, human hair, and glass. Sharon Daniel, Undoing Time/PLEDGE, 2013. Mixed-media installation with video. Photo by J. Arnold, Impart Photography. (Image 12 of 12)

Barring Freedom is on view at San José Museum of Art through April 25, 2021, Friday through Sunday, 11am–5pm.

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Art can help us do that work of imagining what we have never experienced before. [Artists] ask us to think about how our communities will have to be transformed, and how our entire worlds will have to be different. Artists do that work. Angela Davis

Barring Freedom explores our nation’s troubled history of prisons and policing. In the last forty years, the number of people in prisons, jails, and detention centers in the United States has grown by 500%. There are now two million incarcerated individuals, the majority Black or brown and predominantly from poor communities. One out of every twelve families in the country is directly impacted. Yet, for many who have not been directly affected by policing and incarceration, this societal shift has happened largely out of sight, buried within national debates around history, racism, law, and order. The artists in Barring Freedom creatively confront the historical and racialized biases within the criminal justice system and the economic and social problems that the system serves to obscure.

The artworks included in Barring Freedom also envision a future beyond the prison. They underscore the importance of art to highlight and inspire reflection about these challenges and emphasizes the critical roles artists play in imagining and creating new worlds built on true equality.

Angela Davis and Gina Dent in conversation with Rachel Nelson, co-curator of Barring Freedom , about art, abolition, and imagining a world without prisons at San José Museum of Art.

Barring Freedom is co-organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences and San José Museum of Art.

Curators: Rachel Nelson and Alexandra Moore.

Artists: American Artist, Sadie Barnette, Sanford Biggers, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Sonya Clark, Sharon Daniel, Maria Gaspar, Ashley Hunt, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Deana Lawson, Sherrill Roland, Dread Scott, jackie sumell, Hank Willis Thomas, Patrice Renee Washington, Prison Renaissance, and Levester Williams

Barring Freedom is supported by the SJMA Exhibitions Fund, with contributions from Glenda and Gary Dorchak and Rita and Kent Norton. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UC Santa Cruz Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.

 

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