As Art for Justice enters its final phase of grantmaking, “No Justice Without Love” displays a selection of artworks bringing together the depth and breadth of talents elevating the Fund’s mission.
New York, NY — The Ford Foundation Gallery is pleased to present No Justice Without Love, an exhibition featuring the transformational work of artists, thought partners, and supporters who make up the Art for Justice Fund (A4J) community. The exhibition is an invitation to engage with the Fund's mission of bringing together artists, activists, and allied donors in the movement to end mass incarceration. By emphasizing the voices, experiences, and artistic practices of those most directly impacted by the nation's criminal justice system, No Justice Without Love aims to reflect collectively, and actively, on the possibilities of a future where safety is shared and available to all. No Justice Without Love opens on April 4 with a public opening from 6 to 8 p.m. featuring a special performance by artist/composer/musician Paul Rucker. The exhibition will be on view at Ford Foundation Gallery in New York through June 30, 2023.
Inaugurated in 2017 under the unprecedented philanthropic vision of Agnes Gund, A4J launched with $100M generated from the sale of Agnes’ favorite painting, Roy Lichtenstein's Masterpiece. This spurred artists, collectors, and supporters to donate an additional $25M in support of the Fund’s mission to advance policy reform, shift public narratives on criminal justice, and promote the leadership of formerly incarcerated people while centering art as a catalyst to propel change.
With the support of the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, A4J has leveraged its agility and momentum as a time-limited six-year fund to support 200+ outstanding artists and arts and advocacy organizations. By June 2023, A4J will have allocated over $125M to the field.
No Justice Without Love, guest curated by Daisy Desrosiers (Director and Chief Curator, Gund Gallery at Kenyon College), will present work by artists, grantees, and allied donors including Benny Andrews, Halim Flowers, Faylita Hicks, Szu-Han Ho, James Yaya Hough, Maria Gaspar, Jesse Krimes, Julie Mehretu, Faith Ringgold, Cameron Rowland, Jared Owens, The People’s Paper Co-op, Samora Pinderhughes, Sherrill Roland, jackie summel, Stanley Whitney among others, alongside activations by For Freedoms and Writing on the Wall.
Featured in the exhibition are formerly incarcerated and allied artists who by visualizing aspects of America’s carceral state—through and beyond the confines of prisons, jails, and detention centers—underscore current conditions and the urgency for social change. By charting the evolution of their practices, this exhibition presents the ways in which the artists create new aesthetics around humanity, resilience, and self-determination while elevating themes of redemption, rehabilitation, and transformation.
“No Justice Without Love speaks to the many ways art connects, heals, and binds us together. This exhibition is a testament to the power of art to make visible the injustices of mass incarceration,” says A4J’s philanthropist and founder Agnes Gund. “Through her curatorial vision, Daisy Desrosiers has captured the rich, expansive spirit of our community of artists and advocates by weaving together those in the movement who came before us, those who are with us now, and those who will continue to reimagine justice in the future.”
The presentation will incorporate submissions by former and current grantees who have been invited to a Call and Response to express how A4J—and the remarkable community it supports—has affected their practice. The Call and Response hopes to capture the collective nature of advocacy, the dynamic community that has emerged as a result of the Fund, and the force of art as a catalyst for profound change.
“This exhibit is a thoughtful culmination of the powerful, impactful work that Agnes Gund and the Art for Justice Fund have brought to life in the past six years. At its heart, the work has always centered the dedicated artists, activists, and allies building a world without mass incarceration,” says Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. “As we celebrate the Fund’s ongoing legacy and momentum, we hope viewers will witness deeply the power of art and advocacy to create empathy, to question harmful narratives about incarceration, and to draw light to society’s biggest inequalities.”
No Justice Without Love articulates contemporary artists and those impacted by the criminal legal system as some of the greatest advocates for ending mass incarceration. The artists situate their vision at the intersection of radical imagination and tangible space. In this light, the exhibition is a celebration of A4J’s investment in artists as advocates and a call to continue these investments to envision a more just and equitable society and world.
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ president & CEO Melissa Berman has served on the governing board of A4J since its launch. “As part of this exhibition, we want to recognize our community of A4J donors. Inspired by Agnes Gund’s transformative gift, over 250 donors—including artists, art collectors, family foundations, corporate donors, and other individuals—gave generously to expand A4J‘s impact,” says Berman. “We at RPA are invigorated by the strong response from the philanthropic community to advance this work during A4J’s lifespan and into the future.”
ABOUT THE FORD FOUNDATION GALLERY
Opened in March 2019 at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York City, the Ford Foundation Gallery aims to shine a light on artwork that wrestles with difficult questions, calls out injustice and points the way toward a fair and just future. Our hope is for this to be a responsive and adaptive space, one that serves the public in its openness to experimentation, contemplation and conversation. Located near the United Nations, the space is situated to draw visitors from around the world—and address questions that cross borders and speak to the universal struggle for human dignity.
The gallery is located inside the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice and is accessible to the public through the building entrance on 43rd Street, east of Second Avenue. Gallery events are open to the public, but registration is required.
ABOUT ART FOR JUSTICE FUND
The Art for Justice (A4J) Fund aligns artists, advocates, and allied donors to transform the criminal legal system and create empathy, envisioning a future of what shared safety looks like for all. Through the work of grantees, the Fund seeks to end mass incarceration and shift the narrative around criminal justice reform through art. A project of the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Art for Justice is a time-limited fund that concentrates on three major policy areas: bail reform to reduce the number of people needlessly detained in jail; sentencing reform to eliminate the excessive and disproportionate punishment of young people and people of color; and the creation of meaningful reentry opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to support themselves and their families. Now in its sixth and final year, A4J seeks to leave behind a lasting legacy, embodying a model wherein art becomes the very means by which justice is secured. By leveraging partnerships and impact, A4J elevates the power of art to end mass incarceration, inspiring future reform efforts while building a foundation for lasting change.
ABOUT ROCKEFELLER PHILANTHROPY ADVISORS
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is one of the world’s largest philanthropic advisory services and has facilitated over $3 billion of giving in 50+ countries. RPA’s mission is to accelerate philanthropy in pursuit of a just world by making philanthropy more thoughtful, equitable, and effective. RPA is leading programmatic, grantmaking, and governance activities for the Art for Justice Fund, which is a fiscally sponsored project of RPA.