Barring Freedom

Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction Project, 2019, detail
Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Redaction Project, 2019, detail

Barring Freedom is a bi-coastal exhibition of contemporary art organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) in collaboration with San José Museum of Art. The group exhibition features important U.S. artists who creatively engage the historical and structural racism embedded within the systems of mass incarceration, criminal justice, and the prison industrial complex.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York, Shiva Gallery 
April 29-July 30, 2020

UC Santa Cruz 
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery
October 14, 2020-January 30, 2021

San José Museum of Art
October 24, 2020-TBA

Curated by Rachel Nelson and Alexandra Moore, Barring Freedom makes visible the troubled history and racialized present of the prison industrial complex, via artworks by Sanford Biggers, Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun, Sonya Clark, Sharon Daniel, Titus Kaphar and Reginald Dwayne Betts, Dread Scott, jackie sumell, Hank Willis Thomas, Patrice Renee Washington, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, Levester Williams, and other renowned artists.

This exhibition is part of a multi-faceted, 18-month project, which brings together some of the most important artists, scholars, and activists working today to expose the structural racism in the prison industrial complex. Beyond the traveling exhibition, Barring Freedom also includes a public sculpture at UC Santa Cruz by jackie sumell, a symposium in Fall 2020, and an edited volume of scholarly essays and interviews. With these different vehicles of public engagement, Barring Freedom aims to explore the different tactics used to expose the complex nexus of policing, surveillance, imprisonment, and detention that currently serves to bar people of color from freedom in the United States.

Visualizing Prison Abolition Symposium
October 15th-17th
Keynote address by Angela Y. Davis and Gina Dent

The conference, organized in partnership with Gina Dent, will include scholars, artist, and activists from UC Santa Cruz and beyond. More information forthcoming.

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.

Date: 
Wednesday, April 29, 2020