Friday, August 29, 2008

Prison Art

Last week I got invited to participate in an outdoor art event held in the historic Missouri State Penitentiary. The prison is one of the oldest west of the Mississippi and held some of the most notorious criminals — like James Earl Ray, the guy who shot Martin Luther King. The pen first welcomed prisoners in 1836 and operated until 2004 when a new prison opened just outside of Jefferson City. I grew up not far from Jefferson City, in California, Missouri. This was a very fun experience and I want to thank the curator and event organizer, Carla Steck for inviting me to participate. Today the project made front head-line news in the local paper. Apparently, the crew that was hired to demo the site is pretty pissed. Read all about it on the front page of the local newspaper here...

These bikes were made by Megan Gallant & Json Myers (St. Joseph, Missouri). They are about sentencing children as adults. After the show the bikes are being recycled and fixed-up and given to the children in the local community.

"no pain" (Barbie)

"daddy hits" (Star Wars)

"Hangman" by James H. Calvin and Valerie Wedel (Columbia, MO) — a tongue-n-cheek exploration of the criminal system.

Hannah Rose Reeves & Michael Bostwick (Columbia, MO) "Googlification" (detail): an installation eight feet tall x twenty feet wide composed of 4x4 inch tiles embossed with images derived from Google image search. They pose the question: "Does human culture survive broadband translation?" Each picture googled is a word from a text about how the couple met.

Leon A. Reid, IV (NYC) "Free As A Bird"

Michael De Feo (NYC) detail of his underwater mural and Jonathan "Depoe" Villoch (NYC) "Complexity of Color Perception"

Paul Notzold (NYC) "TXTual Healing" An interactive texting piece. Anyone can text in their own messages.

KnittaByNature (anonymous knitting taggers) and Kathryne Hall's (NYC) "Tubisms: Cars"

Mark Jenkins (Washington, DC) "Untitled Tape Man" and Scott Hug's "Go 4 It!"

Some more of my stickers...

Thomas Cobain (Kansas City, MO) "Stairway" found inside the old work out room (there is a small video below of the piece at night). The high voltage of the sculpture bring to mind the electric chair.

The prison yard and original facade. Sonny Liston, the world heavy weight champion, who later robbed a gas station painted the boxer on the prison wall.

A short video of some of the works at night: Robert Goetz (St. Louis, MO) "Windmillprisonspider", and Thomas Cobian's South Park looking "Resurrection Jesus" and "Stairway"...


Kathryne Hall said...

Hey - it was great to meet you in Jeff City.
I can't believe all those comments on the paper website!
I also made a list of responses to my project as well - some are pretty fun. They're at
Thanks for this post. said...

Thanks, Vastine. I also like hanging out with like-minded bloggers, such as yourself. Yes, imagine, I spend time with inspiring and rejuvenating bloggers, and it ends up rubbing off on me!
bullet stickers