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Attica USA 1971: Images and Sounds of a Rebellion

January 18 – April 9, 2017
Main Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre
Curator: Philippe Artieres with Le Point du Jour (Cherbourg, France)     

This exhibition recounts the story and cultural impact of the notorious Attica prison riots in western New York State. In a context of great political unrest in the United States, including repression of the Black Panther Party and mass opposition to the Vietnam War, 2200 inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility rebelled in demand of civil rights and better living conditions. Following failed negotiations, New York state police violently regained control of the prison, resulting in the deaths of 42 detainees and correctional officers. The still and moving images emerging from journalists permitted inside the prison were unlike any photo-reportage seen before, offering extraordinary insight into American incarceration, conditions within the US prison system, and the country’s fraught politics of race and power. This exhibition contextualizes imagery of the events within a broader expressive framework, including photography and documentary film alongside artwork, music, agitprop ephemera, and popular cinema to explore the multivalent cultural response to this extraordinary news event.




Event(s):

Opening Party
Wednesday, January 18
6:00–8:00 PM

Exhibition Tour
Paul Roth and Julie Crooks
Wednesday, February 22
6:00 PM

Guest Lecture: Attica! The Prison Rebellion Watched Around the World and its Legacy
Professor Heather Ann Thompson
Co-presented with the Bissell-Heyd Chair of American Studies, University of Toronto
Wednesday, March 15
7:00 PM

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 PM

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted

This exhibition is co-produced with Le Point du Jour, Cherbourg, France. With generous support from The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York.

Co-presented with the Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue

Two men raising their fists in the air, hundreds of other men in the background are doing the same
Fig. 1

Bob Schutz, Clenched fists at Attica State Prison, Attica, NY, USA, September 10, 1971. Courtesy of the Associated Press

Group of black inmates negotiate with media and state prisons Commissioner Russell Oswald
Fig. 2

Inmates of Attica State Prison negotiate with state prisons Commissioner Russell Oswald at the facility in Attica, NY, USA, September 10, 1971. Courtesy of the Associated Press

Large crowd of people watch as Black Panthers carry a coffin out of a hearse
Fig. 3

Stephen Shames, Black Panthers carry George Jackson's coffin into St. Augustine's Church for his funeral service as a huge crowd watches, Oakland, California, USA, August, 28, 1971, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Photograph of soldiers running, seen through 12 paper cutouts of a man's silhouette
Fig. 4

Martha Rosler, Empty Boys, from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, 1967-72, chromogenic print. Courtesy Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin/Cologne

Old photograph of soldiers in trenches, seen through a collage of a 50's woman pulling back curtains
Fig. 5

Martha Rosler, Cleaning the Drapes, from the series House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, 1967-1972, chromogenic print. Courtesy Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin/Cologne

Installation Shots

Fig. 1

Attica USA 1971: Images and Sounds of a Rebellion (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

Fig. 2

Attica USA 1971: Images and Sounds of a Rebellion (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

Fig. 3

Attica USA 1971: Images and Sounds of a Rebellion (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

Sponsors

This exhibition is co-produced with Le Point du Jour, Cherbourg, France. With generous support from The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York.

Co-presented with the Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue