Barring Freedom

Levester Williams, Tar Ball, 2014. Unclean bed sheets from a Virginian adult penitentiary, tar, flies, other media. 50 × 49 × 49 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Saturday, October 24, 2020Sunday, March 14, 2021
Co-organized by SJMA and the UCSC Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) and guest curated by IAS Interim Director, Rachel Nelson, PhD, and IAS Curatorial Fellow Alexandra Moore.

The prison-industrial complex points to a deeply troubled vision at the heart of this nation, one that has led to the highest rates of incarceration in the world and to stark racial disparities in those it jails. Barring Freedom brings together contemporary artists grappling with the historical and structural racism embedded in the criminal justice and mass incarceration systems in the United States. Works by artists including Sadie Barnette, Sanford Biggers, Sonya Clark, Sharon Daniel, Maria Gaspar, Dee Hibbert-Jones, Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Deana Lawson, Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun, jackie sumell, and Hank Willis Thomas confront and expose these profound injustices.