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See “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” exhibition

  • September 01, 2021
UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts will host “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” exploring the work of imprisoned artists and the centrality of incarceration to contemporary art and culture, on view from Sept. 17-Dec. 11.

Per longstanding UAB protocol, members of the media must first receive approval from and/or be escorted by UAB University Relations to be on UAB property, including inside UAB buildings and outdoor campus property (e.g., Campus Green, parking decks).

Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Artsaeiva exhibit.2Tameca Cole, "Locked in a Dark Calm," 2016. Collage and graphite on paper. 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Courtesy of the artist. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will host the major exhibition exploring the works of artists within prisons in the United States and the centrality of incarceration to contemporary art and culture, on view from Sept. 17-Dec. 11.

Featuring art made by people in prisons and works by nonincarcerated artists concerned with state repression, erasure and imprisonment, “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” highlights more than 30 artists, including Birmingham-based Tameca Cole, Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter, Larry Cook, Maria Gaspar, Dean Gillispie, Mark Loughney, George Anthony Morton, Gilberto Rivera and Sable Elyse Smith.  

“Marking Time” features works that bear witness to artists’ experimentation with, and reimagining of the fundamentals of, living under punitive governance as they push the possibilities of these basic features of daily experience to create new visions of justice and healing. The resulting work is often laborious, time-consuming and immersive, as incarcerated artists manage penal time through their works and experiment with the material constraints that shape artmaking in prison.

The exhibition also includes works made by nonincarcerated artists — both artists who were formerly incarcerated and those concerned with the impact of the United States prison system on marginalized communities. From various sites of the carceral state, these artists devise strategies for visualizing, mapping and making physically present the impact and scale of life under mass surveillance, criminalization and imprisonment for targeted populations, underscoring how prisons and the prison industrial complex have shaped contemporary life. 

Also included in the exhibition are works by American Artist, Cedar Annenkov, Sara Bennett, Conor Broderick, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Daniel McCarthy Clifford, Russell Craig, Amber Rose Daniel, Halim Flowers, Gary Harrell, James “Yaya” Hough, Ashley Hunt, Jesse Krimes, Susan Lee-Chun, William B. Livingston III, Ojore Lutalo, Jesse Osmun, Jared Owens, Rowan Renee, Billy Sell, James Sepesi, Todd (Hyung-Rae) Tarselli, Jerome Washington, and Aimee Wissman. 

aeiva exhibit.3 Larry Cook, "The Visiting Room #4," 2019. Digital photograph, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.“Marking Time” is organized by Nicole R. Fleetwood, Ph.D., James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, and reflects her decade-long commitment to research and programming on the visual art and culture of mass incarceration. The exhibition follows the release of Fleetwood’s award-winning book, “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” (Harvard University Press, 2020), recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.    

The exhibition is accompanied by a dynamic series of public programs, performances and education initiatives organized with several community partners, including Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, Jefferson County Memorial Project, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Youth Legacy Program, and numerous departments from UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences and UAB’s Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion.   

“Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” is organized by Fleetwood with exhibition coordinator Steven G. Fullwood in collaboration with AEIVA Senior Director John Fields, AEIVA Assistant Curator Tina Ruggieri, AEIVA Education Manager Christina McClellan, and AEIVA Collections and Exhibitions Coordinator Sheleka Laseter. The exhibition debuted Sept. 17, 2020, at MoMA PS1 and was organized by Fleetwood with assistant curators Amy Rosenblum-Martín, Jocelyn Miller and Josephine Graf.  

Major support for “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” is provided by the Art for Justice Fund, a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; and the Alabama State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to MoMA PS1; Independent Curators International; Birmingham Museum of Art; Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, Alabama; Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles; JTT, New York; and Malin Gallery, New York.  

AEIVA is now open to the public, with timed tickets. One ticket per visitor. Each individual member of your group will need to book a ticket. Reserve your free ticket to view the exhibition.Spaces per time slot are limited to 10 for a one-hour long visit. If you cannot make your timeslot for any reason, please cancel the booking or call 205-975-6436. If you have any issues with booking your ticket or would like to reserve a group tour, contact AEIVA at

Visitors must wear a mask at all times inside the AEIVA building and keep socially distanced. Free and metered parking is available along the streets surrounding AEIVA. Safety is UAB’s priority. The pandemic is a fluid situation that UAB is monitoring, in consultation with infectious disease and public health experts; events will be subject to change based on the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

All upcoming “Marking Time” programs are designed as hybrid events, with both in-person and virtual components. AEIVA is prepared to move any of the events entirely virtual at a moment’s notice. Visit AEIVA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest updated information.

Public programs for “Marking Time” include:

Dean Gillispie artwork Dean Gillispie, "Spiz’s Dinette," 1998. Tablet backs, stick pins, popsicle sticks, cigarette foil. 16 x 8 x 5 in. Courtesy of the artist.6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17

AEIVA opening night panel discussion, “Marking Time”

Join AEIVA for an opening night panel discussion with artists Tameca Cole, George Anthony Morton, Maria Gaspar and Dean Gillispie for “Marking Time,” a major exhibition exploring the works of artists within United States prisons and the centrality of incarceration to contemporary art and culture. Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7

AEIVA’s “Outside the Lines: Tameca Cole”

Birmingham visual artist and writer Tameca Cole will conduct a collage workshop at AEIVA. Cole’s work is featured in “Marking Time.” Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12

“State of Alabama Prisons, Past and Present”

Join AEIVA for a lively panel discussion with journalists, educators and advocates discussing the impact of the carceral state in Alabama. Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

aeiva exhibit.6Gilberto Rivera, "An Institutional Nightmare," 2012. Federal prison uniform, commissary papers, floor wax, prison reports, newspaper, acrylic paint on canvas. 32.25 x 24.25 inches. Collection Jesse Krimes.6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21

“AEIVA Movie and a Tour Night”

Join AEIVA staff for a tour of current exhibitions, followed by a film screening and discussion related to AEIVA’s current exhibition “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Tour starts at 6 p.m.

5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28

“Chamber Music @ AEIVA: Marking Time”

Free chamber music performed by some of Alabama’s top musicians and thoughtfully curated in response to artworks currently on display in AEIVA’s current exhibition, “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Presented by AEIVA and the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music. Organized by Laura Usiskin, cellist for the Alabama Symphony.

Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10

“Mass Incarceration on Trial”

UAB’s Mock Trial team and Brandon L. Blankenship, director of the Pre-Law Program in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Criminal Justice, is partnering with UAB advocacy students to bring the “Marking Time” exhibit to life in a showcase mock trial. The hybrid event will be held at AEIVA and virtually via Zoom. Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11

“Spoken Word at AEIVA”

Readings created by and read by UAB’s Department of English students with select readings from the Jefferson County Memorial Project blog by alumni of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Youth Legacy program. Registration is required to attend this event virtually. Register online.

aeiva exhibit.5Mark Loughney, "Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration," 2014-present. Graphite on paper (series of 725 drawings). Each 12 x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist.  6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29

“Men’s Training, A Special Reading”

A free virtual and in-person event, at 6:30 p.m. in UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, presented in conjunction with the UAB Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and the exhibition “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Theatre’s Call to Action, a Birmingham Southern College course, will present a special reading of “Men’s Training” by Daoud Boone, a playwright who is incarcerated at Limestone Correctional Facility. Register online.

6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7

Virtual AEIVA “Marking Time” Closing Event

Join AEIVA for an engaging discussion with several artists featured in the “Marking Time” exhibition focusing on centering incarceration in their art. Moderated by curator Nicole Fleetwood, Ph.D. Registration is required to attend this virtual event. Register online.