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Panel Discussion

Architecture of Confinement

Wednesday, March 7

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Aperture Gallery and Bookstore 547 West 27th Street New York, NY


PLEASE NOTE: Due to inclement weather, this panel will be postponed until further notice.

Panelists: Bruce Jackson, Johnny Perez, Laurie Jo Reynolds, and Stephen Tourlentes

This panel considers incarceration from an architectural perspective and how photographers engage with prisons as omnipresent structures in the American landscape. Moderated by educator and activist, Shana Agid.

In a series of public programs that accompany the spring issue of Aperture magazine and the related exhibition, Prison Nation, photographers, writers, historians, and activists discuss the unique role photography, art, and storytelling play in understanding and creating a dialogue around the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States.

Click here to see the full list of Prison Nation programming

Shana Agid is an artist/designer, teacher, and activist whose work focuses on relationships of power and difference in visual and political cultures. She is an assistant professor of arts, media, and communication at Parsons School of Design, where he teaches courses in artists’ books, letterpress, collaborative design, service design, and design and politics. Her own collaborative design and design-research practice focuses on exploring possibilities for self-determined services and campaigns through teaching and design research. He is also a book artist and letterpress printer.

Bruce Jackson is a photographer, filmmaker, ethnographer, novelist, and narrative theorist. He is SUNY Distinguished Professor and James Agee Professor of American Culture at SUNY Buffalo, and an associate member of New York’s Wooster Group. He is a Chevalier in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Ordre national du Mérite. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows. He has authored thirty-seven books, the most recent of which are Inside the Wire: Photographs from Texas and Arkansas Prisons (2013), American Chartres: Buffalo’s Waterfront Grain Elevators (2016), and Terlingua Necropolis (2017).

Johnny Perez is the director of the US Prison Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a membership organization committed to ending US-sponsored torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. He adds value, insight, and leadership to existing campaign efforts working to end the torture of solitary confinement, while building the capacity of religious leaders and directly impacted communities to engage in education and advocacy in the United States. Drawing on the wisdom of thirteen years of direct involvement with the criminal justice system, Perez also works to change its unjust policies and practices through his participation as a newly appointed member of the New York Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Corrections and Community Reentry Committee and is on the board of directors of both SPACE on Ryder Farm and the Juvenile Law Center.

Laurie Jo Reynolds is an artist and policy advocate whose work challenges the demonization and exclusion of people both inside and outside of prison. She was the organizer of Tamms Year Ten, a grassroots legislative campaign to close Illinois’s notorious state supermax, which Governor Pat Quinn shuttered in 2013. She continues to collaborate with long-term prisoners and people with records on policy change. Reynolds has received grants from Open Society Foundations, Creative Capital, United States Artists, and Creative Time, and is an assistant professor of art at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Stephen Tourlentes is an artist based in Boston, where he teaches in the photography department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He is the recipient of artist fellowship grants from various organizations, including the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, the Mass Cultural Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. His work has been exhibited in many museum and gallery venues and is held in many public and private collections. He has been a longtime advocate for implementing alternatives to mass incarceration.

Image: Stephen Tourlentes, Wyoming State Death House Prison, Rawlins, Wyoming, 2000; Courtesy the artist and Carroll and Sons, Boston

Aperture magazine’s “Prison Nation” issue and the related exhibition and programs are funded, in part, with generous lead support from the Ford Foundation, as well as funding from the Reba Judith Sandler Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, and the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation. Additional public funds are from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Architecture of Confinement