This major exhibition explores art and mass incarceration, featuring art made by people in prisons and work by nonincarcerated artists concerned with state repression, erasure, and imprisonment. With more than two million people currently behind bars in the United States, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration underscores how prisons and the prison industrial complex are central to contemporary art and culture.
Marking Time features works that bear witness to artists’ reimagining of the fundamentals of living—time, space, and physical matter—pushing the possibilities of these basic features of daily experience to create new aesthetic visions achieved through material and formal invention. The resulting work is often laborious, time-consuming, and immersive, as incarcerated artists manage penal time through their work and experiment with the material constraints that shape art making in prison. The exhibition also includes work made by nonincarcerated artists—both artists who were formerly incarcerated and those personally impacted by the US prison system. From various sites of freedom or unfreedom, these artists devise strategies for visualizing, mapping, and making physically present the impact and scale of life under carceral conditions. Alongside the exhibition, a series of public programs, education initiatives, and ongoing projects will explore the social and cultural impact of mass incarceration.