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On View Installations

On View Installations

  • Luba Drozd: Institute of Corrections

    This video installation utilizes source materials created for correctional employees that include conferences, training discussions, and simulated scenarios. The artist edits the footage to uncover the system behind incarceration and the dialogue that goes on internally within the field of corrections itself. Meet the Artist Luba Drozd is an interdisciplinary multimedia artist. She earned a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Bard College. Her films and installations articulate the absu...



  • Michelle Handelman: Beware the Lily Law

    The piece uses the 1969 Stonewall Riots as a starting point to address issues facing gay and transgender inmates. The riots began after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Police arrested men dressed as women and transgender patrons. Many of the patrons resisted the police raid, and the following day thousands of people marched in the streets, speaking out about unfair treatment under the law. It was the start of the modern gay rights movement. Today, transgende...



  • Tyler Held: Identity Control

    Reflecting on the idea that a man is “too easily reduced to an object” when institutionalized, artist Tyler Held uses a car, stripped inside a cell, as a metaphor for relinquished individuality. Meet the Artist Visual artist Tyler Held’s body of work focuses on the processes of repair and modification. He exposes the renovation of a once discarded and common object by highlighting functional and aesthetic hybridity. His work challenges our cultural disdain for the obsolete. Held was born in ...



  • Alexa Hoyer: I Always Wanted to Go to Paris, France

    Most of what the average person knows about prison life comes from pop culture: literature, history, news and most importantly from television and film. When visiting historic sites such as the Eastern State Penitentiary, one easily recognizes the visual landscape so often depicted in popular movies, as well as imagining the personal and private narratives dramatically rendered on screen. The prison film genre tends to glorify, romanticize or even trivialize the harsh realities of prison life. E...



  • Jesse Krimes: Apokaluptein16389067:II

    The piece reflects the artist’s personal experience while incarcerated in federal prison, where he created a 39-panel surreal landscape on bed sheets and mailed each piece home. His installation at Eastern State will modify this massive image to cover the interior walls of an abandoned cell. Meet the Artist Philadelphia-based artist and returning citizen Jesse Krimes holds a BA in Studio Art from Millersville University. In 2009, he was indicted by the U.S. government on non-violent drug cha...



  • Jess Perlitz: Chorus


    The artist asked incarcerated men and women from throughout the United States, “If you could sing one song, and have that song heard, what would it be?” Her recordings are played inside a cell at Eastern State. In the resulting “choir,” triggered by the visitor’s arrival, these voices are layered, escalating, colliding, and eventually grow overwhelming. Meet the Artist Jess Perlitz is a sculptor whose work functions like absurd weapons, considering the symbolic and cultivating engagement to ...



  • Ruth Scott Blackson: No Trace Without Resistance


    The artist applies new paint chips, coated in gold leaf, to the flaking walls of an existing cell. In 
the resulting “shimmering constellation,” sunlight on the installation may entice the visitor in the same way an inmate may have been forced to concentrate on the walls during solitary confinement. The prison’s neglect reveals something surprising and rare underneath. Meet the Artist Ruth Scott Blackson is a visual artist based in Philadelphia, PA. Her art practice depicts accretions of tim...



  • Cindy Stockton Moore: Other Absences

    These 50 portraits represent individuals murdered by men and women who would eventually be sent to Eastern State Penitentiary. The stories of victims are rarely told in the institutional history or in tour and exhibit content at Eastern State today. Ms. Stockton Moore intends to create a more complete picture of the men and women imprisoned here, and the consequences of their actions. The artist could only find images of a small number of victims. The murder victims absent here reflec...



  • Brian James Spies: Solitaire

    Having spent time in solitary confinement as a teenager in a juvenile psychiatric facility, the artist relies on his personal experience to create a sound collage of layered vocal tracks on Eastern State’s audio tour player. He replicates the sensation of being alone, consumed by one’s own thoughts in solitary confinement. Meet the Artist Brian James Spies (born 1979 in Williamsport, PA) is a visual artist working in a variety of mediums, with a focus on printmaking and photography, whose ...



  • William Cromar: GTMO

    This cell is a recreation of a cell from Camp X-Ray, the now-abandoned holding cells in the United States Federal Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Department of Defense replaced the Camp X-Ray cells with newer holding cells, called Camp Delta, in 2002. As of March 2006, the United States holds more than 235 “enemy combatants” at the newer Guantanamo Bay facility. Most are accused of associating with the Taliban or Al-Qaida. By placing the Guantanamo Bay cell inside an Eastern ...