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Special Event

Prison Nation: Magazine Launch and Panel Discussion

Tuesday, April 24

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Zimmerli Art Museum 71 Hamilton Street New Brunswick, NJ


Join Aperture at the Zimmerli Art Museum to celebrate the launch of “Prison Nation,Aperture magazine’s Spring 2018 issue. Featuring a panel discussion moderated by Che Gossett, and including Nicole Fleetwood (guest editor of “Prison Nation”), Brendan Wattenberg (Managing editor, Aperture), Jesse Krimes, Joseph Rodríguez, and Sable Elyse Smith, who were all featured in the issue, this panel will address the unique role photography plays in creating a visual record of mass incarceration in the U.S.


Jesse Krimes is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Philadelphia. While serving a six-year prison sentence, he produced numerous bodies of work that have been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University; and the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University, among other venues. After his release in 2014, he partnered with the Soze agency to cofound “Right of Return USA,” the first national fellowship dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists. Krimes is currently a 2017 Robert Rauschenberg fellow and is represented by Burning in Water gallery in New York.

Joseph Rodríguez is a documentary photographer born and raised in Brooklyn. He teaches in Photo and Imaging Department at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the International Center of Photography (ICP). He studied photography in the School of Visual Arts and in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the ICP. He has worked at print and online news organizations, including National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, and the BBC. Rodríguez has been awarded Pictures of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri, in 1990, 1992, 1996, and 2002. He is the author of seven books, including Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the 80s (PowerHouse Books, 2017) and his photographs have been exhibited worldwide. He is represented by Galerie Bene Taschen.

Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in New York. Her practice considers memory and trauma while enacting an undoing of language. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, the New Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, SIGNAL Gallery, Rachel Uffner Gallery, and Recess Assembly, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Artists’ Television Access, San Francisco; and Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, London. Her writing has been published in Radical Teacher, Studio Magazine, and Affidavit, and she recently published her first book. Smith has received awards from Creative Capital, Fine Arts Work Center, the Queens Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, the Franklin Furnace Fund, and Art Matters. She is currently part-time faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts and visiting faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Sculpture and Extended Media department.

Brendan Wattenberg is the managing editor of Aperture magazine. Formerly the director of exhibitions at The Walther Collection, he has contributed essays and interviews to Another AfricaContemporary AndObjektiv, and Aperture’s PhotoBook Review, and is the editor of the photobooks François-Xavier Gbré: The Past is a Foreign Country and Samuel Fosso: The Spectacle of the Body. Wattenberg holds a BA in English from Haverford College and an MA in Africana Studies from New York University. He has served on the jury for the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2016), the Changjiang International Photography and Video Art Biennale in Chongqing, China (2017), and Photo Is:rael, Tel Aviv (2017).

Nicole R. Fleetwood is associate professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is co-curator and contributing editor of “Prison Nation” a special issue of Aperture magazine on the role of photography in documenting mass incarceration.  She also recently completed a book on art and mass incarceration that will be released in 2019. Her two previous books are Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (2011) and On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (2015). Fleetwood is the recipient of awards and fellowships from NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, American Council of Learned Societies, Whiting Foundation, Schomburg Center for Scholars-in-Residence, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts.


Che Gossett is a Black trans femme writer and archivist at the Barnard Center for Research on Women as well as a graduate student in Trans/Gender Studies at Rutgers University.  They have written for the Verso press blog, the LA Review of Books and most recently contributed to the anthology Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Trans Visibility (MIT Press, 2018) edited by Reina Gossett, Johanna Burton and Eric Stanley.  They are a 2017-18 Palestine American Research Center Fellow and a 2017-18 New York Queer Arts Mentor.


Prison Nation: Magazine Launch and Panel Discussion