The University of Colorado, Riverside (UCR) is currently presenting an exhibition at the California Museum of Photography entitled "Geographies of Detention: From Guantánamo to the Golden Gulag." The exhibition includes photographs and paintings from artists Sandow Birk, Alyse Emdur, and Richard Ross, as well as films by the Los Angeles Poverty Department, Ashley Hunt, and Setsu Shigematsu.
Sandow Birk's paintings from his 2001 "Prisonation" series portray the areas surrounding prisons in California, with the prisons themselves as smaller, distant elements of the landscapes. Emdur's portion of the exhibit consists of letters and photographs of prison visiting rooms where prisoners pose "against murals in fantasy landscapes of freedom." Rounding out the first half of the exhibition are Ross' photographs of empty prison spaces, taken in 2007 as a part of his prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Each artist's work presents an interesting and rare look at the idea of incarceration and the structures used to enforce it, and together make for a must-see exhibition.
Those who visit the UCR between now and August 10 will also see the "Guantánamo Public Memory Project," a traveling exhibit that explores the century long history of the US naval station through interviews, photography, audio recordings, and other historical and contemporary artifacts from the people who were involved with the facility in some capacity.
For more information on "Geographies of Detention: From Guantánamo to the Golden Gulag," visit the UCR ArtsBlock website.