‘Get rid of prisons’: artist Stanley Whitney speaks out against US judicial system in online show

    Stanley Whitney, Untitled (No to Prison Life) (2020) – Crayon on paper © Stanley Whitney

    A portion of the proceeds from an online sale of works by the artist Stanley Whitney will go towards the Art for Justice Fund, the organisation founded by the high-profile patron Agnes Gund aimed at reforming the criminal justice system in the United States.

    Whitneys new and recent works on paper can be viewed on the Lisson Gallery website in the No to Prison Life show (until 26 July); so far, eight works have sold while other works are available including Untitled (Prison Voices) (2018) for $15,000; ten percent will be donated to the Art for Justice Fund.

    “The statement, No to Prison Life is the artists protest against the US judicial system's promotion of arrest, incarceration, and other forms of imprisonment, in particular highlighting the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons, [around 33% in 2017]” says the gallery in a statement. The initiative coincides with World Day for International Justice 2020 on 17 July.

    In an interview with his son William Whitney published online, the artist explains why the US prison system is failing. “Were human beings, were social animals. As much as Im a hermit, I still have to have some kind of social engagement. So to lock someone up for 20 years… No to Prison Life,” Whitney says.

    Stanley Whitney, Untitled (Always Running from the Police – NYC 2020) (2020) – Graphite on paper © Stanley Whitney

    “Most people dont need to be in prison, people are there because theyre poor, and you cant expect poor people to be shown all this material stuff and then be told No, you cant have it, while you show it to them. Youre going to try to steal, youre going to take. You want to have those Michael Jordan sneakers as a kid, youre going to get them somehow. Why shouldnt you have that stuff, everyone else has it. So No to Prison Life, its really very important that we get rid of prisons and think of a better way of healing and educating people.”

    Some of the works were created while Whitney was on lockdown in New York in the wake of tRead More – Source

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