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Burial for the Rebellion: Studies in Post-Criminality features a series of artworks and allegorical interventions that challenge us to negotiate the relationship between art and criminality.

The present exhibition is conceived also as an organizing tool. It includes 5 main interventions: The Stolen Judge’s Pen, 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.

Through pedagogy, intervention, détournement, and satire, Lech 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.

Ono and Burden are known for their fixation on challenging the relationship between the art and the audience. Szporer does this, too. But, unlike the hard-to-define nature of its performance-art antecedents, “The Cage Project” and its kin clearly express their purpose, and the performances are accompanied by actions that the larger public can more easily recognize as real. The New Yorker


These works depict an ongoing interrogation of the complex relationship between creative practice and political action. At times risking his own life and liberty, Szporer stages dilemmas that challenge the viewer to negotiate between sculpture and strategy, site and intervention, intimacy and reciprocity. By strategically militarizing his own vulnerabilities, he is able to both interrogate the criminal justice system and enhance human intimacy.

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.

The action recalls a work by Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh, who locked himself in a cage for a year, starting in 1978, while an earlier work in which Szporer canoed the East River, traveling around Riker’s Island, is reminiscent of the aquatic adventures of Brooklyn artist Duke Riley. Artnet

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Photograph by Hannes Charen

Burial for the Rebellion: Studies in Post-Criminality runs from December 16 – January 3rd, 12pm-6pm

Y Gallery
319 Grand St. 5th Fl.
New York, NY 10002

Read full gallery press release.


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