The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will be the next destination for the acclaimed exhibition, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration curated by Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood. Marking Time explores the impact of the US prison system on contemporary visual art. This exhibition, presented across three galleries —Latimer, Exhibition Hall, and Media Gallery— highlights artists who are or have been incarcerated, alongside artists who have not been incarcerated but whose practices expose aspects of the carceral state. Seen together, their works reveal how punitive governance, predatory policing, surveillance, and mass imprisonment impact millions of people. More than 30 artists appear in Marking Time, including Jared Owens, George Anthony Morton, Gwendolyn Garth, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Russell Craig, Mark Loughney, Gilberto Rivera, Sable Elyse Smith, and Larry Cook.
Dr. Fleetwood references the Schomburg Center’s collections in her companion book of the same name, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration. An important organization in the proliferation of prison art programs, whose organizational papers and letters are in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books division, was the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), organized in the late 1960s by Benny Andrews and a host of artists active in the Black Arts Movement. Dr. Fleetwood writes, “the BECC’s mission hinged on a belief in art as a tool of revolution and on an idea of healing that was generated by Attica prisoners in their manifesto.”
Art made in prisons is crucial to contemporary culture, though it has been largely excluded from established art institutions and public discourse. Marking Time aims to shift aesthetic currents, offering new ways to envision art and to understand the reach of the carceral state on life today. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood, James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media at NYU, 2021 MacArthur Fellow, NYPL Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center Fellow and 2007 Schomburg Center Scholar in Residence with support by exhibition coordinator Steven G Fullwood, Novella Ford, Associate Director of Public Programs and Exhibitions at the Schomburg, and the assistance of graduate researchers Eva Cilman and Xavier Hadley.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a dynamic series of public programs, performances and education initiatives organized with several community partners.
The exhibition debuted September 17, 2020, at MoMA PS1 and was organized by Fleetwood with assistant curators Amy Rosenblum-Martín, Jocelyn Miller, and Josephine Graf.