Prisoner Fantasies: Photos from the Inside
Closing Friday, August 31! The exhibition consists of photographs of prisoners, by prisoners, using prisoner-created painted backdrops featuring a fantasy scene of life outside, as collected and documented by artist Dave Adler.
This collaborative photography movement is national in scope – virtually every major American prison has its own painted backdrop, created by inmates for use in taking photographs. The photographers themselves are also inmates, with the resulting photos the preferred method of communicating with family and friends. It is possibly the largest photography subculture in America, but is largely unknown in "the free world" (the inmate term for life outside prison).
The exhibition features 16 of these prisoner photos. Three original painted backdrops from different prisons are not on display but can be seen upon request.
Dave Adler is a London and NY based artist and critic. He is interested in the intersection of arts and economics, which he has written extensively about, most recently for Frieze Magazine. Adler has produced numerous arts documentaries for the BBC and taught documentary filmmaking at a US prison. His prison photography project has been profiled in Aperture Magazine and exhibited at The 3rd Athens Biennale 2011 (curators Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio and Augustine Zenakos a.k.a. XYZ, and Nicolas Bourriaud). Dave Adler is establishing a national multidisciplinary center for the study of the US prison photography system with the criminologist Dr. Emily Horowitz of St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights.
Very special thanks to Greg Stone and Dr. Emily Horowitz.