Inside White Space: Portraits of Black and Brown Power in the Institution

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© Courtesy of the Artist and The Museum of African American Art
Inside White Space: Portraits of Black and Brown Power in the Institution

4005 Crenshaw Blvd, Macy's 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90008
May 23rd, 2010 - August 29th, 2010
Opening: May 23rd, 2010 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Thurs-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
portraits, African Americans, LATINOS, photography


Artist Camilo Cruz will unveil a series of “nontraditional” photographic portraits of African  Americans and Latinos and the psychological dynamics associated with personal  strength and social empowerment inside the institutional setting of the courthouse where  he works.

The opening reception is open to the public and will take place on Sunday, May 23, from 2–4 p.m. at The Museum of African American Art, located on the 3rd floor of Macy’s inside  the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. The exhibit will run from May 23 to  August 29, 2010. Admission is free.

For this series, Camilo Cruz photographs African American and Latino/a attorneys, judicial  officers, bureaucrats, litigants, police officers, and others who are emerging within a  system that has historically excluded people of color. The viewer is challenged to question  how people of color interact with the institutional space that presses around them.

Because the use of cameras is prohibited in the public spaces of the court, Cruz creates  human tableaus and nontraditional portraits after hours in order to reenact the  physical/emotional landscape that he witnesses during his day in a Los Angeles  courthouse. Cruz says, “By creating imagery of what I see inside of a court, I want to redefine the bureaucratic experience as art and by doing this, hopefully raise  consciousness about the institutional forces that impact our lives.”

In a full-page article published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal (January 2009), columnist  Martin Berg writes that Cruz is “an explorer, diving into the depths of how the system of  justice affects our humanity.” According to Cruz, the portraits in this show document the  psychological and social tensions as black and brown individuals and families negotiate  uncharted territories of power while the institutional atmosphere subtly undermines their  ability to determine how their lives unfold.

Camilo Cruz holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Long  Beach and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Claremont Graduate University.