ArchCity Defenders Partners with The Luminary and Nationally Recognized Artists on Upcoming Exhibition: America’s Mythic Time

January 29, 2020

St. Louis, Mo.— ArchCity Defenders, a holistic legal advocacy organization, announces a collaboration with nonprofit arts organization and gallery The Luminary on America’s Mythic Time an exhibition opening February 8, 2020 featuring works by nationally recognized artists Kahlil Robert Irving, American Artist, Jordan Weber, Maria Gaspar, and WORK/PLAY.

“We are so excited to partner with The Luminary on an exhibition that will help to shed light and spark conversation on some of the most pressing human rights and social justice issues of our time,” said Blake Strode, Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders. “The criminalization of poverty and state violence are, sadly, endemic to our country and to our region. We all have a duty to understand the systems that produce these conditions, and to take collective responsibility for transforming our communities for the better.”

America’s Mythic Time is an exhibition focused on the devastating impacts of racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration on poor people and communities of color, as well as forms of resistance and liberation both through the legal system and within community organizing and artists’ efforts. The exhibition explores carceral capitalism as seen in the steady expansion of for-profit prisons, cash bail, modern day debtors’ prisons, and workhouse jails with health-destroying conditions in St. Louis and nationwide. Referencing Hortense Spillers’s notion of “mythic time” – a seizing of both time and bodies that sanctions continued exclusion and violence – the exhibition emphasizes the ways in which over-policing and incarceration devastate communities of color, but also poses that forms of liberation originate within these communities.

America’s Mythic Time curated by James McAnally with Katherine Simóne Reynolds, brings together profound new and recent works from American Artist, Maria Gaspar, Kahlil Robert Irving, Jordan Weber, WORK/PLAY and ephemera from a range of St. Louis-based artists and activists including Close the Workhouse and The Bail Project. The exhibition will be extended through public programs developed by ArchCity Defenders, including Booked: A Reading Library on Racism in Policing, Courts, and Jails, a screening of Wade Gardner’s documentary film Marvin Booker Was Murdered and Q&A panel on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at The Luminary (doors open at 6:30pm, film starts at 7pm), and a public Close the Workhouse session at the Deaconess Foundation on Thursday, March 5, 2020 starting at 6:00pm.

Founded in 2009, ArchCity Defenders has grown from a firm of three volunteer lawyers to a full fledged holistic legal advocacy organization with 28 staff. Since its founding, ArchCity has represented thousands of people in nearly every municipal court in the region, as well as filed a broad range of civil rights lawsuits challenging underlying abuses like inhumane jail conditions, inadequate homeless shelter, cash bail, and modern day debtors’ prisons.

This exhibition represents a continued expansion of Arch City Defenders’ ongoing work, bringing together the work of artists, activists, organizers and legal advocates to create a resonant and urgent exhibition on one of our region and nation’s most dire crises. America’s Mythic Time will remain on view through March 21st, 2020.