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blue are the feelings that live inside me


In January 2017, Recess launched Assembly to serve as an artist-led alternative to incarceration while empowering young people to take charge of their own life story and imagine a positive future through art. Through the 40-week Peer Leader program, our young people are exposed to various mediums of art making, careers in the arts, and internships at arts and culture spaces around the city as a pathway to a career in the arts. A guest artist joins each new cohort of the program and collaborates with youth on a project in our public storefront gallery.

March 21–May 11, 2019

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From March 21 – May 11, 2019, American Artist will present blue are the feelings that live inside me, a series of photographs responding to a growing body of charged and divisive books written as recreational material for police.

These books, which include titles such as “The War on Cops,” “Behind the Badge: 365 Daily Devotions for Law Enforcement” and “Black Lies Matter,” chart the emergence of “Blue Lives Matter,” a police-led countermovement created in opposition to policies and activism of “Black Lives Matter.” Artist’s project highlights how the concept of “Blue Life” appropriates and weaponizes identity-based categories like race in order to enforce camaraderie around police, disparage affirmations of Black life, and advance policies and narratives ultimately destructive to people of color most affected by police violence.

In addition to their Gallery Activation, American Artist will collaborate with Recess Assembly participants to design and produce original book jackets which respond to these charged and offensive publications in order to expose the insecurities embedded within them and as a tool for reimagining competing ideologies. In conjunction with their Assembly Gallery Activation, Artist and Assembly youth will host three panels on the subjects of the “Blue Life,” the aesthetics of the classroom, and science fiction as a political tool.

About the artist




AMERICAN ARTIST makes thought experiments that mine the history of technology, race, and knowledge production, beginning with their legal name change in 2013. Their artwork primarily takes the form of sculpture, software, and video. Artist is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Visual Art and a Creative Capital grantee. They are a former resident of Smack Mellon, Red Bull Arts Detroit, Abrons Art Center, Recess, EYEBEAM, Pioneer Works, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They have exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art; Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; and Nam June Paik Center, Seoul. Their work has been featured in New York Times, Cultured, Artforum, and Art in America. Artist is a co-director of the School for Poetic Computation and a core faculty at Yale.

Artist Website


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