Arresting Patterns: Race and the Criminal Justice System brings together a group of artists who unearth overlooked patterns of racial disparity in the U.S. Criminal Justice system. The urgent need to explore indicators of intentional and unintentional discrimination comes to a fever pitch in the aftermath of the Ferguson verdict, the Baltimore riots, the police murder of Eric Garner, William K. Scott, and the state-sanctioned killing of hundreds of other Black, Brown and Indigenous people in the hands of the law. Centuries of structural inequity that is seen by some and invisible to others has produced collective outrage around the question of whether every citizen is protected equally under the law, and have led to a call for citizen participation in the shaping of law enforcement, policy, and reform. Artworks by Jamal Cyrus, Maria Gaspar, Titus Kaphar, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Adrian Piper, Tamms Ten Year, Dread Scott, and Andy Warhol employ serial repetition as a strategy for showcasing how one action, repeated over time, may accumulate, spread, or evolve into another form of its original self without detection.
The exhibition was co-curated with Titus Kaphar and attorney Leland Moore, and traveled to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, where it expanded to include Mary Dewitt, Theodore A. Harris, Avtomat Kalashnikova, Martine Sims, and Felandus Thames. View the AAMP installation.
The exhibition was accompanied by a free, two day interdisciplinary conference that aimed to promote discussion on the interplay of race, criminal justice, artistic expression, and community. Artists, policymakers, scholars, and activists addressed urgent questions that explored the direct and collateral consequences of mass incarceration on the community and individuals, criminal stereotypes, and the role that artistic expression can play in addressing these issues. The conference was hosted by Yale University Art Gallery, and each panel was kicked off by a performance or presentation by an artist. The conference moved to Artspace New Haven, the organizing organization, at the end of each day, where attendees were invited to a literary event and social hour.
top photos: Installation Views of Arresting Patterns, on display at Artspace New Haven, July 17 - September 13, 2015. Photos by Jessie Smolinksi. Photo Courtesy of Artspace.
bottom photo: Performance still of Kenya (Robinson), Arresting Patterns Conference, September 12 & 13, organized by Artspace New Haven, hosted by Yale University Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of Artspace.