Artists fulfill the dreams of death row inmates

Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, Tennessee, currently houses 79 people on death row. This summer, a group of artists made weekly visits to the prison to collaborate with the inmates. Unit 2 (part 1), named for the part of the prison where the inmates are held, is an exhibition displaying the first results of that collaboration.

The exhibited works mostly fall into two categories: “add-ons” and “surrogates.” Add-ons are works that have been handed back and forth between artist and inmate over the course of the summer, modifying or adding to the drawing or painting with each exchange. The surrogate projects are perhaps more interesting, at least from a conceptual standpoint. The inmates — who have been on death row for up to 35…

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