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Photo/Video Caption: Charles Gaines, Sky Box II, 2020; acrylic, digital print, aluminum, polyester film, and LED lights; courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Installation view in New Work: Charles Gaines, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2021. Photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Seeing Through Stone

Institute of the Arts and Sciences

April 12, 2024- January 12, 2025 100 Panetta Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA Hours: 12- 5 p.m. Daily (Closed Mondays)

San José Museum of Art

April 12, 2024- January 12, 2025 110 S. Market St., San José, CA Hours: Thursday 4–9PM Friday 11AM–9PM Saturday and Sunday 11AM–6PM (Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

a white sculpture of a small white wall with a ladder over it

Seeing Through Stone brings together artwork by contemporary artists from around the globe whose work engages prisons, justice and freedom. Moving beyond exhibitions that are about prisons and instead oriented towards artists who help provide a vision—and a model—of abolition in practice, Seeing Through Stone highlights global networks of care and abolitionist world-building. The multi-sited exhibition will be on view at San José Museum of Art (SJMA) and the Institute of the Arts and Sciences (IAS) from April 12, 2024—January 5, 2025.

The largest exhibition to-date co-organized by IAS and SJMA for Visualizing Abolition, an initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation, Seeing Through Stone features works which reflect the global scope of carceral conditions and the movements resisting prisons world-wide. With reference to poet Etheridge Knight’s evocation of those who have “the secret eyes”—Seeing Through Stone highlights the works of artists, including those who are formerly and currently incarcerated, that offer a vision beyond carceral systems, charting the flourishing constellation of abolition.

The exhibition is co-curated by Gina Dent, Lauren Schell Dickens, and Rachel Nelson, and will be accompanied by a scholarly publication. Gina Dent is Professor of Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies at UC Santa Cruz, Lauren Schell Dickens is chief curator at SJMA, and Rachel Nelson is director and chief curator of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.


Frank Alejandrez, Rebecca Belmore, Reginald BoClair, Imani Jaqueline Brown, Caleb Duarte, Cian Dayrit, Explode! (Cláudio Bueno, João Simões, and collaborators), Frente 3 de fevereiro, Charles Gaines, Guillermo Galindo, Maria Gaspar, Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes, Gabriela Golder, Patricia Gómez and Mª Jesús González Fernández, Shilpa Gupta, Ashley Hunt, Steffani Jemison, Mariame Kaba and Rachel Wallis, Sofia Karim, Bouchra Khalili, Robert King, Mulheres Possíveis, Carlos Motta, Gabriela Mureb, Huong Ngô, O grupo inteiro (Carol Tonetti, Cláudio Bueno, Ligia Nobre, Vitor Cesar) + Vanessa Soares + Lorran Dias, Samora Pinderhughes, Sherrill Roland, Sable Elyse Smith, jackie sumell, Hajra Waheed, Levester Williams, Timothy James Young and Geraldine Magarelli