MacArthur “Genius” Nicole R. Fleetwood is a celebrated writer, cultural theorist, curator, and art critic. Growing up in Hamilton, Ohio, she witnessed the vulnerability of her community to excessive policing, punitive surveillance, and mass incarceration, and the direct impact these had on her family, especially her male cousins. The concept for her groundbreaking book Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration started in 2010, when she hung photographs of her cousins in Ohio prisons on the walls of her Harlem apartment. Marking Time explores the impact of US incarceration on contemporary visual art, highlighting artists who have been incarcerated alongside artists whose art examines US institutions and systems of confinement. Based on interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated artists, prison visits, and the author’s own family experiences with the penal system, Marking Time shows how the imprisoned turn ordinary objects into elaborate works of art.
Reception to follow. This event is a part of the Unlocked: Understanding Mass Incarceration in the US series at the Center for Social Concerns.