It’s not just black and white, 2011

It’s not just black and white at ASU Art Museum consciously wrestled with the visual motifs (striped uniforms, pink underwear, chain gangs) of Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, while considering the complex cultural, social and personal issues at stake in the everyday workings of the justice system. It began as a collaboration with 14 men in jail, and grew to encompass 52 related events, 37 institutional and community partners, and nearly 20,000 visitors.

From a panel discussion with Sheriff Arpaio to a talk by activist Angela Davis, stakeholder partners helped organize a wide array of activities. Sale and his collaborators turned the museum setting into a sort of demilitarized zone that served as a site for civic dialogue in a community marked by political extremes. Together they successfully reframed the correctional setting outside the prison, and apart from typical news media depictions.

The project was curated by John Spiak with the artistic collaboration of Catherine Akins, Jason Dillon, Matthew Garcia, Jane Lindsay, Elizabeth Johnson, Ken Lamberton, Matthew Mosher, Kara Roschi, Chris Santa Maria, David Tinapple, and Erec Toso. Community and institutional partners included Arizona Humanities Council, Arizona Justice Project, ASU Gammage, ASU Humanities Project, AZ Common Ground, David’s Hope, Gina’s Team, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, University of Arizona Poetry Center, and United Team for Restorative Justice. The project was supported by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Friend of ASU Art Museum.

For broad understanding of the project visit the archive on ASU Art Museum, Social Studies website.