Prison/Culture

Edited by Sharon E. Bliss, Kevin B. Chen, Steve Dickison, Mark Dean Johnson, Rebeka Rodriguez





San Francisco Chronicle

"The City Lights Foundation has published Prison Culture, a thought-provoking collection of art - everything from paintings to poems to plays - that explores the experience of incarceration. Produced in collaboration with San Francisco State and Intersection for the Arts, the book also features essays by and interviews with prominent artists, scholars and activists."


Book explores prison, culture, art, poetry
May 14, 2010

"When starting the Prison/Culture exhibit and book, Art Professor Mark Dean Johnson brought some compelling statistics to his classes. One in 100 Americans are behind bars, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Center on the States. A report by the National Association of State Budget Officers found a 127-percent increase spending on corrections between 1987 and 2007, and a 21-percent increase in higher-education spending during the same time."

- Julia Halprin Jackson, College of Creative Arts, SFSU

Criminal InJustice Kos: Prison/Culture - A Mirror and a Hammer
Apr 28, 2010

"Co-published with Intersection for the Arts and SF State University, Prison/Culture represents several years of dialog on incarceration and culture in America that resulted in two related exhibitions at Intersection and SF State's University Gallery, and this book. Though a Bay area collaborration, the themes explored in Prison/Culture are universal. creating a powerful and sophisticated collection of sculpture, photography, painting, installation, and poetry, by incarcerated people on 'the inside' and noted artists 'on the outside.'"

- Criminal InJustice Kos, dailykos.com

Prison and Culture
May 6, 2010

"California's prison system houses over 170,000 people. We discuss prison culture through a look at prison art made both inside and outside the bars, and we talk with contributors to a new collection of art and ideas on incarceration called 'Prison/Culture.'"

- Michael Krasny, KQED Radio

Prison/Culture
May 5, 2010

"Do people even remember rehabilitation? It has nothing to do with Amy Winehouse; instead, it's a theory about what to do with criminals once they're in prison. Reduce recidivism, remember? Make it so prisoners can live in regular society once they get out (thus saving tax dollars)? San Quentin Prison was bitten by the rehab bug many years ago, and has long had an Arts-in-Corrections program — but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent budget concepts mean it's ending. City Lights Publishers recently completed the highly relevant Prison/Culture..."

- Hiya Swanhuyser, SF Weekly

Prison Photography

"Prison/Culture is simultaneously a consolidation of achievement, a fortification of resources and celebration of resistance. This may be a book with a Californian focus, but it has national and international relevance. Succinct, well researched, egalitarian and lively."

—Pete Brook


Daily Kos

"Prison/Culture chronicles classical and contemporary artistic exploration of the prison and the power of the arts to both educate and liberate."