ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall
During the COVID-19 stay at home period, Gallery 400 presents a series of online screenings featuring work by artists who have previously exhibited at the Gallery. Each work will stream on the Gallery 400 website for two weeks.
Between 2017 and 2018, Maria Gaspar and Michael De Anda Muñiz led a series of workshops inside Cook County Jail’s Division 6, working with a self-selected ensemble of incarcerated men over the course of one year. The ensemble developed stories, audio recordings, and drawings that culminated in a twenty-minute audio-visual piece that was projected onto the North-end wall of Cook County Jail over the course of two evenings in September 2018.
Writes Gaspar: ‘This work of art was made by people who were locked up. It was made by people who jumped in to the project with little information but wanted to try something new, people who desired and yearned for creativity, people who wanted to get out of their cell for two hours a day, who didn’t want to be surrounded by a noisy TV in their tier, people who wanted quiet time, reflection time, people who wanted to make something with others, people who gave it their all, who committed themselves to seeing something through until the project’s debut. We made something beautiful together. They made this powerful work. Let’s not dispose of them and assign them a death sentence as they await trial during this global pandemic. Release them, support them, care for them.”
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Maria Gaspar exhibited at Gallery 400 in the 2015 show After Today, as part of her 96 Acres project that examined the impact of incarceration at the Cook County Jail on Chicago’s West Side and beyond. After Today included seven artists’ projects that responded to the city of Chicago’s social, political, and economic conditions and was part of an ongoing series of exhibitions and events, Standard of Living, which explored shifts in economies and in work.
Support for Portal: online screenings is provided by the School of Art & Art History, the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.