Radical Art History Inside the Walls

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This past Thursday I visited the Stateville Correctional Facility near Joliet, Illinois at the invitation of friends in the prison justice movement who teach a weekly class to some of the men who are incarcerated there. The prison mirrors the Midwest industrial landscape. Run down, underfunded, segregated, and struggling to find its soul. It was also a portrait of inner city America.

I talked about the abolitionist art from my book, tied it to prison justice art, and showed a number of images from Hank Willis Thomas. No surprisingly the men had a deep critique of the state, capitalism, and how racism operates in the US. It was a wake up call. A reminder of a country in crisis.