Arizona-based artist Gregory Sale brings together a multitude of individuals implicated in and working with the criminal justice system. His aim is to soften and collapse boundaries, thereby encouraging reciprocal dialogue and mutual learning. His long-term large-scale project, It’s not just black and white (2011) at ASU Art Museum, consciously wrestled with the visual motifs (striped uniforms, pink underwear, chain gangs) of sheriff Joe Arpaio, while considering the cultural, social and personal issues at stake in the day-to-day workings of the criminal justice system. Beginning as a collaboration with 14 inmates, the project grew to encompass 52 related events, 37 institutional and community partners, and nearly 20,000 visitors.
Working nationally, his projects organize frameworks for individuals directly affected by the system, connecting them with communities and initiating discourse around charged social problems. For Life is Life (2011), Sale worked with men sentenced as juveniles to life without parole. The project was co-created with Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice Program, Philadelphia, and exhibited at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Artwork created with men on death row, became the organizing component of Love for Love (2012-15), when the project traveled from Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill to Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, and then to Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City.
Sale is now undertaking a series of projects focused on the challenges of individuals reentering society after incarceration. In 2015, he became an official affiliate artist with the Los Angeles-based Anti-Recidivism Coalition. He is currently producing Rap Sheet to Resume, a workshop and social practice project for the Urban Justice Center in New York City.
Sale is the recipient of a Creative Capital grant in Emerging Fields, an Art Matters grant, and a SPArt (Social Practice Art) grant. His projects have been supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by the Ford Foundation. He has been awarded public art commissions with Scottsdale Public Art and the City of Glendale Arts Commission, both in Arizona.
He has participated in prestigious residencies and fellowships including: Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA; MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH; Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY; Ucross, Clearmont, WY; Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Amherst, VA; and CAMAC Centre d'Art Marnay Art Centre, Marnay-sur-Seine, France.
Sale is Assistant Professor of Intermedia and Public Practice at Arizona State University, Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, School of Art.