Barring Freedom is a bi-coastal exhibition of contemporary art and programmatic initiative about prisons and justice organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
With more than two million incarcerated people in the United States, a majority of them black or brown, virtually all of them from poor communities, Barring Freedom brings together artists, scholars, and activists to challenge one of the obstacles to justice in the United States: the failure of many to see the biases within the criminal justice system—or to comprehend the social problems that the system serves to obscure.
UC Santa Cruz
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery
October 14, 2020-January 30, 2021
San José Museum of Art
October 24, 2020-March 21, 2021
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, Shiva Gallery
April 28-July 29, 2021
Visualizing Prison Abolition
Keynote address: Angela Y. Davis and Gina Dent
Barring Freedom, the exhibition, features artists from across the United States whose works seek to expose the structural racism embedded within the systems of policing and mass incarceration, render perceptible the social and psychological effects of the carceral state, and counter the dehumanization which naturalizes these injustices. Organized by curators Rachel Nelson and Alexandra Moore for UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences, artists in the exhibition include American Artist; Sanford Biggers; Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick; Sonya Clark; Sharon Daniel; Maria Gaspar, Ashley Hunt; Dee Hibbert-Jones; Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts; Prison Renaissance; Sherrill Roland; Dread Scott; jackie sumell; Hank Willis Thomas; Patrice Renee Washington; Levester Williams.
Information about the extended programming initiative developed by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences and featuring film screenings, performances, lectures, as well as a major symposium organized with Professor Gina Dent.
Barring Freedom emerges from a deep history of scholarship and activism at UC Santa Cruz. Current and emeritus faculty at the university, including Angela Davis, Craig Haney, and Gina Dent, have for decades been powerful leaders in prison abolition and reform efforts. Critical Resistance, the ongoing international movement to end the prison industrial complex was born on this campus in 1997. Twenty years after the birth of that movement, Barring Freedom seeks to build on that legacy and energize activists. The prison industrial complex reveals a deeply troubled vision at the heart of this nation, a vision that has led to the highest rates of incarceration in the world, and stark racial disparities in those who fill our prisons. Barring Freedom brings people together to propel a new vision for the end of these profound injustices.