These Artworld people are coming to Rikers
It takes 2 hours and any combination of train, Uber, DOC car, Correction and MTA buses to make it onto Rikers Island. Crossing the bridge isn't easy. But neither is or was these men's lives prior to incarceration.
I'd like to dedicate this Memorial Day post to the civilians who have joined me in reframing how the formerly incarcerated are accepted into the NYC artworld. It is not bettering actual lives if we think we're doing enough by looking at them and their hardships through art. Awareness isn't a solution. And it is far too common the only role they're really allowed to pursue is as artist. Not all of them want to be artists. They want jobs in art that have significance, that contribute to and highlight the cultural diversity of our city - and that includes them.
A special salute to these speakers and sponsors who crossed that bridge:
May 9, 2017 - Phaidon handed out Co-Art: Artists in Creative Collaboration
May 16, 2017 - Henry Chalfant spoke about Style Wars and documenting the merging of hip hop and graffitti in the Bronx during the 1980s. One participant said Henry is "a walking history book" and another said "he was crying inside for the memories."
May 23, 2017 - Artist Josh Reames took the guys into his studio, showing them a slideshow of trompe l'oeil techniques and a sneak preview of his new work. It made a big impression that Josh openly shared what it is like to be an artist in New York.
June 2, 2017 - Artist Melissa Brown is leading a screenprinting class where the winning design will be printed onto donated canvas bags and sold at Blick Art Materials during this summer's "Out on Bond" street fair June 23, 2017.
June 6, 2017 - Amber Bonadio, Vice President of Operations at Uovo Fine Art Storage & Services will speak to the men about art logistics and jobs in that field.
June 20, 2017 - Tina Kukielski, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Art21 and Producer Ian Forster will screen a documentary on artist Theaster Gates and share a behind-the-scenes look at the production process and all the jobs involved.
June 23, 2017 - We're "Out on Bond"! Come watch us live screenprint the winning design at Blick and support the Reframe Program by purchasing your own tote bag. Details announced soon.
September 19, 2017 - Soho House has invited Coss Marte, Founder of Conbody Fitness and me along with other panelists to discuss radicalism in the Criminal Justice system. I will announce the winner of our second design contest. This design will be unveiled at Conbody's new location in Saks Fifth Avenue Wellery this fall.