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Past Installations

  • David Adler: Visions of the Free World

    Nearly all prison visitation rooms in the U.S. feature photo backdrops, painted by the inmates themselves, to be used in inmate portraits. The portraits are in most cases sent to family and friends in “the free world.” The backdrops, typically painted either on canvas or cinderblock walls, often portray beaches, waterfalls, rainbows, city skylines, and other expansive landscapes. What do these aesthetic choices say about inmates’ portrayals of their experiences in prison? What messages are they sending to those on the outside? How are those messages received?

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  • Judith Schaechter: The Battle of Carnival and Lent

    Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site welcomes Guggenheim Fellow Judith Schaechter’s ambitious new work, The Battle of Carnival and Lent, to its 2012 artist installation program. These 17 stained glass windows are inspired by the prison’s dark history and installed in historic skylights throughout Cellblocks 8, 11, and 14 for the duration of the 2012 season.

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2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner