Art from the Inside: Paño Drawings by Chicano Prisoners

June 17 - September 3, 2005
Curated by Martha Henry and Peter Joralemon

Black and white artwork by Chicano prisoner featuring Mary surrounded by faces

Black and white artwork by Chicano prisoner featuring Mary surrounded by faces

Art from the Inside featured 121 drawings on handkerchiefs. Known as paños, these pocket-sized canvases depict boldly drawn montages composed of Pre-Columbian symbols, colonial religious icons, Mexican historical figures and images from 20th-century popular culture. Paños serve as pictorial letters which carry messages from inmates to family and loved ones on the outside and to friends and associates within the prison system. Paño artists draw upon a rich vocabulary derived from the "high" and "low" art forms of Mexico and the United States. Aztec warriors, the Virgin of Guadalupe and Pancho Villa, tattooed gang members, pin-up girls, vintage low-rider cars and trucks, clowns, teddy bears, and cartoon characters provide inspiration for the drawings. Although the origin of paño drawing is unknown, it is thought that the tradition emerged from the jails and prisons in Texas, New Mexico, and California during the 1940s.

Tools of Her Ministry: The Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan

February 11 - May 28, 2005
Curated by William A. Fagaly

Mixed media work by Gertrude Morgan featuring gathering of men

Tools of Her Ministry: The Art of Sister Gertrude Morgan was the first major museum retrospective devoted to Gertrude Morgan (1900-1980), an African-American painter who today is considered one of the most important self-taught artists of our time. Morgan painted on absolutely anything that was handy - paper, wood, Styrofoam trays, window shades - mixing acrylics, poster paint, watercolors, crayons, and ball-point pen. Then she set up camp to show her work in the heart of the New Orleans' French Quarter and performed creative and passionate public sermons in a deep chant-like voice, self-accompanied by guitar or tambourine, for local passers-by who grew to cherish her charismatic persona. She was a familiar figure in town and her ubiquitous status as a beloved visionary is expertly documented in this exhibition with biographical photographs and more than 100 paintings, drawings, and objects.

FOUND: The Magazine, The Stuff

January 7 - January 29, 2005

Found Magazine cover featuring cut out collage

The exhibition showcased the materials that make up the critically-acclaimed publication FOUND Magazine: lost Polaroids, old love notes, to-do lists, failed poetry, drafts of resumes, Post-it notes, and more. Discovered by pedestrians everywhere across the nation in trash cans, on street corners or in parking lots, or inside abandoned buildings, these items are submitted via post mail and e-mail to Davy Rothbart and the magazine's Chicago-based editor Jason Bitner for publication in print and on the Internet at In 2001, one note, found by Rothbart, started it all. The contents are simple: "Mario, I f**king hate you, you said you had to work then whys your car HERE at HER place? You're a f**king LIAR. I hate you. I f**king hate you. Amber. P.S. Page me later." Ed Schad writes: "Such heartbreaking human moments form the bulk of the magazine, presenting a reality that is tender, funny, brutal, but never certain and always clouded in an air of intrigue."