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On View Installations

  • Solitary Watch with Jean Casella, Jeanine Oleson and Laurie Jo Reynolds: Photo Requests from Solitary

    This ongoing project invites people in long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons to request a photograph of anything at all, real or imagined, and then finds volunteers to make that image. This Eastern State Penitentiary installation features astonishing new requests from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and range of photographs made for the project. Visitors are invited to fulfill requests by uploading their own images to

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  • Provisional Island: An Electric Kite

    The artist collective Provisional Island installed a handmade radio transmitter in one cell that transmits to portable radios in the cell directly opposite. The broadcast is comprised of fragments culled from radio broadcasts and historic radio shows created in prisons and internment camps, and highlights the role of radio in subverting and transcending prison walls.

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  • Michelle Handelman: Beware the Lily Law

    The piece uses the 1969 Stonewall Riots as a starting point to address issues facing gay and transgender inmates. The riots began after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. Police arrested men dressed as women and transgender patrons. Many of the patrons resisted the police raid, and the following day thousands of people marched in the streets, speaking out about unfair treatment under the law. It was the start of the modern gay rights movement.

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  • Tyler Held: Identity Control

    Reflecting on the idea that a man is “too easily reduced to an object” when institutionalized, artist Tyler Held uses a car, stripped inside a cell, as a metaphor for relinquished individuality.

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  • Jesse Krimes: Apokaluptein16389067:II

    The piece reflects the artist’s personal experience while incarcerated in federal prison, where he created a 39-panel surreal landscape on bed sheets and mailed each piece home. His installation at Eastern State will modify this massive image to cover the interior walls of an abandoned cell.

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  • Jess Perlitz: Chorus

    The artist asked incarcerated men and women from throughout the United States, “If you could sing one song, and have that song heard, what would it be?” Her recordings are played inside a cell at Eastern State. In the resulting “choir,” triggered by the visitor’s arrival, these voices are layered, escalating, colliding, and eventually grow overwhelming.

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  • Cindy Stockton Moore: Other Absences

    These 50 portraits represent individuals murdered by men and women who would eventually be sent to Eastern State Penitentiary.

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  • William Cromar: GTMO

    This cell is a recreation of a cell from Camp X-Ray, the now-abandoned holding cells in the United States Federal Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Department of Defense replaced the Camp X-Ray cells with newer holding cells, called Camp Delta, in 2002.

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  • Greg Cowper: Specimen

    The artist draws his inspiration from the collection of eighteen species of butterflies and moths—some quite rare—gathered by an Eastern State Penitentiary prisoner living in solitary confinement.

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2017 American Aliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions Overall Winner