Prison abolitionist stages post-criminal satire by caging himself outside the Manhattan Detention Complex on Sunday, October 25th, the day the first penitentiary was established in the United States.

Press Release:

Prison abolitionist stages post-criminal satire by caging himself outside the Manhattan Detention Complex on Sunday, October 25th, the day the first penitentiary was established in the United States.


I will be handcuffed and sealed into a freestanding steel cage, and placed by a team in the middle of the intersection of Center and White St. at 12noon, unable to get out. I am staging this disruption because the scandal of mass criminalization, incarceration, and neglect in America is horrific, inhumane, and an issue of grave urgency.

By displacing the caged person from behind the walls to the middle of the street, and rendering what is too often invisible visible, I hope to add some emotional depth to the public discussion on prison reform, mental health, and race in America.

Not only do we need to pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 – We should abolish prison as the dominant mode of punishment and move toward a non-retributive, reconciliatory, restorative justice to address the issues prisons attempt to address but cannot.


Studies in Post-Criminality

Y Gallery presents Burial for the Rebellion: Studies in Post-Criminality, featuring a series of artworks and allegorical interventions that revolve around a narrative of post-criminality.

Lech Szporer’s work challenges us to negotiate the relationship between art and criminality. From organizing community teach-ins, press conferences, to founding nonprofits and facilitating social justice movements, Szporer’s research, actions, and critical reflect also involve painting, drawing, sculpture, performance, video and photographic documentation, as well as collaborations with established organizations.


Through pedagogical techniques of sociological intervention, détournement, and satire, Szporer confronts the theme of prison from multiple critical angles.  By incorporating criminality and the law into his work in such a way so as to metaphorically overcome the restraints posed on free expression, he in turn finds a law of his own, in between what is criminal and post-criminal.



Risking his own life and liberty, Lech Szporer stages dilemmas that challenges the viewer to negotiate between sculpture and strategy, site and intervention, intimacy and reciprocity. By strategically militarizing his own vulnerabilities, he is able to interrogate the criminal justice system and enhance human intimacy.



The present exhibition is conceived also as a platform for art and social change. It will include 5 main interventions: The Stolen Judge’s Pen, The NBC Arrest, The Slave Is Not For Sale Juneteenth Reenactment, Attempted Circumnavigation of Rikers Island, and The Cage Project, but also drawing, painting, sculpture, photograph and video related to these actions.


His works depict an ongoing interrogation of the complex relationship between creative practice and political action. Recently, the artist staged an unprecedented silent performance called The Cage Project, where he was handcuffed and sealed shut in a freestanding steel cage and placed in the middle of the intersection of Center and White St. outside of the Manhattan Detention Center, resulting in his arrest. Dealing with issues of on prison reform, mental health, and race in America, the artist has stated: “I am dedicating my life to see how art can be used to accelerate social change,”



Lech Sean Szporer is an interdisciplinary artist, organizer, and musician focused on the interplay between art, social change, public scholarship, and community history. He is co-founder and director of Give Kids Your Instruments, a 501c3 nonprofit that augment music and arts education for kids in lower income communities. A graduate of The New School, Lech also has a lifetime of street knowledge. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


Can we reach a Post-Criminal world? What is Human Justice? And what is Creative Justice?

December 18, 2015 at Y Gallery, NY, NY

As part of the exhibition, a Panel Discussion on Post-Criminality will take place at the Gallery on Friday, Dec. 18th 7-9pm with the participation of the speakers: Joseph Jazz Hayden, CEO of Still Here Harlem Productions and it’s offshoot All things Harlem, and initiator of The Campaign to end the New Jim Crow; Chino Hardin, field trainer and community organizer for the human justice think tank Center for NU Leadership; Susan Tipograph, criminal defense attorney of almost 40 years who used to be the representative to the NY Chapter of National Lawyers Guild and Charles Sabba, artist and active-duty NJ police lieutenant.


Joseph “Jazz” Hayden is a community activist and organizer who has been deeply involved with the struggle to empower the least powerful populations in the country. A former Attica prisoner (who helped organize the Attica Uprising), he earned a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree in Professional Studies from New York Theological Seminary while incarcerated. Since his release, he has been an active leader of many civil rights campaigns, including the disenfranchisement of prisoners and mass incarceration. One of his most notable projects is the founding and running of Still Here Harlem Productions, a multi-media production company that aims to give voice to the people of the base of the social, economic, and political pyramid by developing a ‘miniature CNN’ for the Harlem community.


Chino Hardin currently serves as Co-Executive Director of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions whose mission is to shift the paradigm and practice of public safety, justice and accountability from criminal justice to Human Justice, which is defined as the merger of Human Rights and Human Development. He also serves as a Senior Collective Member of brooklyn boihood whose mission is to create spaces where black, brown queer and trans bois* communities can cultivate stories, dreams and creative work.


Susan Tipograph is a prominent criminal defense attorney Susan Tipograph discussing the challenge of anti-social violence on the Panel for Post-Criminality in NYC, 2015. Susan Tipograph has been a criminal defense attorney in private practice for 45 years. Former President of NLG-NYC (New York’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild). Her primary work has been representing indigent people charged with crimes in the state and federal courts of NYC. Most notably, Tipograph has worked on several political and high profile cases, such as: William Morales and the numerous Puerto Ricans and others involved in the Puerto Rican Independence Movement; Lynne Stewart, radical attorney in NYC arrested and jailed for “material aid to terrorism”; NJ4, the well-known case of 4 African-American lesbian women sentenced to prison for self-defense against a homophobic attacker.



Charles Vincent Sabba Jr. is an artist and active-duty NJ police captain. Charles Vincent Sabba Jr. who has written articles about international art crimes and cultural property protection for US Italy and America Oggi.