The sign outside the Watts Towers Art Center | Still from "The Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11 episode image

Geographies of Detention

Artbound's editorial team has reviewed and rated the most compelling weekly articles. After putting two articles up for a vote, the audience chose this article to be made into a short-format documentary.

Tiffany López arrived at the California Museum of Photography Saturday evening wearing a bright blue blouse, dangling earrings, and wedge heels. As López, Professor of Theatre and Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UC Riverside, explained to the audience at the June 1 panel discussion at the Culver Center in Riverside, she chose this outfit because it represented what she could not wear the next day when she went to visit her brother who is currently incarcerated in a California state prison.

These details -- intimate but often unheard -- weaved throughout the discussion López moderated for the opening of "Geographies of Detention: From Guantánamo to the Golden Gulag" at the CMP. The panel brought together four artists and activists whose work is featured in the exhibition -- Sandow Birk, Alyse Emdur, Kevin Michael Key, and Setsu Shigematsu -- to discuss prison spaces, imprisoned people, and the prison industrial complex.

Birk shared how he came to paint the prison landscapes displayed in the CMP's first floor galleries, remarking that he had been drawn to the idealized visions of California depicted in 19th Century paintings when he heard on the radio that California had the largest prison population in the world. He then decided to paint prisons. He'd never really seen one, but the figure seemed to complicate those early, idyllic images of California as Eden.

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CURRENT:LA FOOD

In October of 2019 the city of Los Angeles through the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Institute of Contemporary Art organized a city-wide exhibition of public art and events based around the theme of food. Each artist interpreted a different aspect or issue surrounding food or food systems in the city from climate change, to food access, civic engagement to waste and recycling. Activating public parks throughout the city, artists created works to spark conversation about what it means to live in Los Angeles and how to work together for a sustainable and hopeful future.

  • 2020-10-24T09:00:00-07:00
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The Watts Towers Arts Center

The Watts Towers Arts Center was founded by artists and educators in the 1960s and has been a beacon of art and culture in the community for decades. This episode features the work of artists including Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, Charles White and Mark Steven Greenfield.