Gregory Sale

Gregory SaleAs an artist, Gregory Sale brings together a multitude of individuals implicated in and working with the criminal justice system in contexts that mitigate defining institutional positions. His aim is to soften and collapse boundaries, thereby encouraging reciprocal dialogue and mutual learning.

In Arizona, where Sale lives, ideas of the Old West still set the tone for a harsh and punitive culture of incarceration. In this context, he has produced long-term large-scale projects bringing together disparate constituencies of the criminal justice world. With support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, It’s not just black and white (2011) at ASU Art Museum Art Museum consciously wrestled with the visual motifs (striped uniforms, pink underwear, chain gangs) of Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 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 smaller projects organize frameworks for individuals directly affected by the system, connecting them with communities and initiating discourse around charged social problems. Life is Life (2011) featured artwork created with inmates sentenced to life-without-parole at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution, Graterford. The project was supported by the Ford Foundation through Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice Program, Philadelphia and was exhibited at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Beware! Artwork (and modest proposal for it) Ahead! (2012) at the Phoenix Art Museum involved a performance with 40 individuals from the reentry community. It functioned as a social proposal to engage and disrupt on an individual level the social mechanisms that so often appear to destine young adults for entry into the criminal justice system.Artwork created with men on death row in Nashville, Tennessee became the organizing component of Love for Love (2013-2014), when the socially embedded project –originally created in collaboration with eight organizations and 120 community participants– traveled from the Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill to Cheekwood Museum of Art.

Sale is now undertaking a series of projects focused on the challenges of individuals reentering society after periods of incarceration. With support from a 2013 Creative Capital grant and an Art Matters grant, this series will bring together diverse and even opposing constituents for extended periods of time in order to reconsider their understandings of re-entry and their relationships to one another. Sale is currently developing partnerships on national level with individuals and organizations now leading efforts to transform the culture of incarceration in the U.S.

Over the course of his career, Sale’s artwork has been presented across the United States, in Canada and in Europe. He has been awarded artist residencies at Headlands, Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Ucross, VCCA, and Centre d’Art Marnay-sur-Seine, France; and he has received commissions for temporary public art projects with Scottsdale Public Art, City of Glendale Arts Commission, and Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.

His most recent publications include an artist project for Public Art Dialogue: Open Issue, Routledge, Fall 2014, and a co-authored essay with curator Claire Schneider for the exhibition catalogue More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing since the 1990s, Ackland Art Museum, 2013.

His work has been the topic of three essays in Museums and Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse, Rethinking Incarceration, Left Coast Press, Spring 2011, as well as newspaper and online arts magazines reviews in Art F City and Hyperallergic, July 2013, and in, April 2013.

Sale brings to his social art practice a unique experience as an arts educator and administrator. He is currently Assistant Professor of Intermedia and Public Practice at ASU. Previously he served as the Visual Arts Director for Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Curator of Education at ASU Art Museum, and as a public art project manager for the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture.

Contact Gregory Sale:  Gregory.Sale [at]

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