Ashley Hunt, Degrees of Visibility (installation view)
September 14 – December 6, 2019
Opening Reception: September 14 from 2–4 p.m.
Ashley Hunt’s current project, Degrees of Visibility, is a large body of landscape photographs made in locations throughout the fifty U.S. states and territories, which documents the spaces in which prisons are embedded. Observed from publicly accessible points of view, Hunt’s photographs look at how prisons are presented and camouflaged within our everyday perception and how they contribute to an aesthetics of mass incarceration.
This body of work is part of Hunt’s ongoing examination of how images, objects, maps, writing and performance can engage social ideas and actions, including those of social movements, daily life, the exercise of political power, and the disciplinary boundaries that separate our art worlds from the larger worlds in which they sit. His work looks to structures that allow people to accumulate power, and those which keep others from getting it, while learning from the ways people come to know, contribute to or resist these structures. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as mutual and complementary—drawing upon the ideas and aesthetics of social movements, cultural theory and art alike, the theorizing and practices of each informing the other.
Recent exhibitions and performances include the performance and book, Notes on the Emptying of a City, a dismantled film that recounts his time in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Communograph, a multi-platform project with Project Row Houses in Houston; the ongoing collaboration with taisha paggett, On Movement, Thought and Politics; the collaborative 9 Scripts from a Nation at War, produced for documenta 12 with Andrea Geyer, Sharon Hayes, Katya Sander and David Thorne; and the Corrections Documentary Project, the ongoing body of work addressing the aesthetics and politics of prison expansion and mass incarceration in the U.S., including ten video works, photographic works and mappings that span sixteen years of research, production and organizing.
Additionally, Hunt has exhibited at the Cue Art Foundation, Threewalls Gallery in Chicago, The Kitchen in New York, the 2012 Made in L.A. Biennial of the Hammer Museum, Sinopale 4 biennale in Sinop, Turkey, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Woodbourne State Correctional Institute in upstate New York, Putnamville Correctional Institution in Indiana, and numerous grassroots and community venues throughout the U.S. Recent writing has appeared in X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly (2014), Native Strategies issue 4 (2014), Shifter Magazine #20 (2013).
Hunt is on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts and was on the faculty of the Visual Arts MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts 2008–2016.
Conversation Series and Related Events
Critical Resistance presents Los Angeles for Abolition: Dismantling Jails and Building Liberation with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, with Robin D.G. Kelley, Sarah Haley, Michael Saavedra, Azadeh Zohrabi
Saturday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m., Watts Labor Community Action Center, 10950 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, www.criticalresistance.org/sept14
On Art and Organizing, a conversation with Ashley Hunt and Jess Heaney of Critical Resistance
Thursday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m., Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Pitzer College, 1050 N Mills Avenue, Claremont.
Jess Heaney (Scripps College ’08 and 2018 Scripps College Outstanding Recent Alumna) and Ashley Hunt will discuss Degrees of Visibility and Hunt’s work with Critical Resistance against the current landscape of abolition in Southern California.
Critical Resistance and The Claremont Colleges Prison Abolition Club present a two part symposium: Intro to Prison-Industrial Complex Abolition
Friday, September 20, 3:00-6:00 p.m., and Abolition of Policing, Saturday, September 21, 1:00-4:00 p.m., The Hive, Studio 2, 130 E 7th Street, Claremont. RSVP: [email protected]
California Coalition of Women Prisoners presents Gender Violence Behind Bars: Tactics of Resistance
Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m., Women’s Center for Creative Work, 2425 Glover Place, Los Angeles.
Taylor Lytle, Michaé Pulido, Fatima Malika Shabazz and Rojas, moderated by Alisa Bierria, will speak about their experiences of gendered violence while incarcerated, followed by a discussion with organizers from CCWP and audience members on how to fight for women and gender-non-conforming individuals behind bars.
Taylor Lytle is an organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) and a national Peer 2 Peer Fellow. Taylor is a former foster care youth and formerly incarcerated, having been caged as a youth and later at the California Institution for Women (CIW), one of California’s state prisons. Upon her release from prison, Taylor has dedicated herself to ending the prison industrial complex. She’s a talented poet and uses her craft to advocate for women still behind bars.
Stacy Rojas is an organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Young Women’s Freedom Center. Rojas was incarcerated for 15 years at the Central California Women’s Facility.
Michaé is a queer, trans, Latinx community connector, artist, and skill sharer born and raised in Los Angeles. She currently works as the policy coordinator at the TransLatin@ Coalition, where she is working to change the landscape for trans-inclusive legislation statewide and nationally. Navigating this world post-gender, Michaé sees the direct impact of a corrupt social, economic, and political system that hurts those that choose to not live abiding by the norm. They believe it is their responsibility to uplift the real experiences of the trans community, not just what is glamorized. In becoming more fluent in the policy process, she brings information about the system back to her community and works to improve conditions for future generations of Black, Brown, indigenous, queer, and trans people.
Fatima Malika Shabazz is a 55 year-old formerly incarcerated Transwoman, LGBTQ Social Activist and criminal justice reform and restorative justice advocate belonging to several different organizations: All of us or none; Time done; Advisory Board member for Prison health news; Black and pink LA; Ceo/President of Fatima Speaks LLC. She seeks to create safer and more inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ men and woman, as well as to create policies that ensure the enforcement of laws that should protect the trans population.
Alisa Bierria is a co-founder of Survived and Punished, a member of INCITE!, and an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside.
Practicing Abolition 1: Thoughts = Conversations = Knowledge
Sunday, October 13, 2:00-4:00 p.m., NAVEL, 1611 S Hope Street, Los Angeles.
Practicing Abolition will explore how research, education, conversations, organizing, collaboration, ethics and boundaries can contribute to a complementary practices of abolition and creativity.
Panel and discussion organized by gloria galvez, with Micah Bournes, Jasmine Nyende, Shabina Toorawa, Ellie Virrueta, and performances by Ra Avis and Cole M James.
Critical Resistance LA presents Abolition is Ongoing: Reportback from the campaign to stop Los Angeles jail construction
Saturday, October 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m., Southern California Library, 6120 S Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.
CRLA and partners defeated two huge plans for a $3 billion in jail construction this year! How to ensure that LA County follows through. Learn about what is next and how to get involved.
Related Event: Dancing Through Prison Walls
Friday, November 8, 8:00-9:30 p.m., Garrison Theater at Scripps College, 231 E 10th Street, Claremont.
Scripps College Department of Dance Faculty Suchi Branfman explores the prison industrial complex through several pieces inspired by her five-year choreographic residency at California Rehabilitation Center, a medium-security men’s state prison in Norco, California.
This Scripps College program is presented in partnership with the Holmes Performing Arts Fund, Justice Education at the Claremont Colleges, and Scripps Presents.
Practicing Abolition 2: Knowledge = Skill Shares = Practices
Saturday, November 9, 1:30 p.m., Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Pitzer College, 1050 N Mills Avenue, Claremont.
Join us for an opportunity to see Degrees of Visibility and participate in a workshop that builds on ideas presented in Practicing Abolition 1 (October 13). From Los Angeles, meet at Chuco’s Justice Center at 11:00 a.m., where there will be a brief tour, and carpool to Pitzer College for the exhibition and workshop in the Lenzner Family Art Gallery at 1:30 p.m. RSVP required: [email protected]
Carceral Geographies of Southern California
Thursday, December 5, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Pitzer College, 1050 N Mills Avenue, Claremont.
A roundtable with Vonya Quarles (Starting Over Inc & All of Us or None), Amber-Rose Howard (Californians United for a Responsible Budget), Hilda Cruz from (Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity), and Dylan Rodriguez (UC Riverside), and moderation by Ashley Hunt.
Critical Resistance LA presents: Annual Prisoner Solidarity Postcard Event and Holiday Book Sale
Saturday, December 7, 12:00-5:00 p.m., Southern California Library, 6120 S Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.
Each year during the holidays, CR sends over 7,000 postcards to imprisoned supporters and readers of The Abolitionist newspaper. A family-friendly event with food, desserts, kids activities, live music and DJs.