After organising his first art show from prison, Rahsaan “New York” Thomas says more incarcerated curators should be given the chance to share their creativity.
Two sisters, one consoling the other. Headphones and a microphone collaged onto a canvas. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, majestic in a black robe. These paintings spoke to my soul. I saw them all at San Quentin State Prison, where both the artists and I are serving life sentences. I thought the world needed to see their work, too.
Most art created by people in prison stays locked behind bars, only seen by a captive audience. In rare cases, an exhibition like MoMA PS1’s “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” organized by curator Nicole Fleetwood, brings the work to the outside world.
But what about artists in prisons across the United States who don’t have curators coming to visit them? How can their talents and voices find a way into museums? Why does it take someone from outside to decide what the public should see? And what happens when a pandemic keeps visitors away indefinitely?
The answer is enlisting a curator who resides inside the prison...Keep reading on Artnet.