Community Hofstra University Museum

Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration

Danny Lyon (American, born 1942), The Line, 1968, 2011, gelatin silver print, 11 x 14 in., Hofstra University Museum Collections, gift of Peter and Susan Chatzky, HU2016.87 © Danny Lyon, New York & Magnum Photos, New York

Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration presents its subjects as humans first and inmates second. This photography exhibition presented by the Hofstra University Museum of Art features works by Danny Lyons, Jessica Earnshaw and Isadora Kosofsky, and aims to bring attention to critical issues within America’s prison system. The show, curated by Kristen Rudy, Hofstra University Museum of Art collections manager, is on display at the David Filderman Gallery, ninth floor, Axinn Library, South Campus, through March 10, 2019.

Nancy Richner, director of the Hofstra University Museum of Art, says, “Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration is a particularly timely exhibition, raising countless issues connected to the topic. We hope these photographs encourage questions and conversations about rights, justice, and privilege in our society – and thus extend the works beyond their frames.”

Each of the artists featured in the exhibition spent extended time with their subjects:

Danny Lyon, one of the pioneers of imbedded documentary photography, spent a year in Texas photographing the men incarcerated in its state prisons.

Jessica Earnshaw similarly spent time at the state prison in Maine following another growing prison population, the elderly. In her work, she seeks to investigate the realities of life sentences by profiling certain inmates who have come to terms with spending their last living days behind bars.

Isadora Kosofsky captures the effects of incarceration not only on the inmates but on those left on the outside, especially children. Her series, Still My Mother, Still My Father, focuses on special visiting days at prison facilities in Florida when incarcerated parents and children are allowed to touch and embrace more freely than usual.


Additional specialized programming planned in conjunction with the exhibition includes:

Hidden in Sight: Voices Unheard, Wednesday, October 24, 4-5:30 p.m.

David Filderman Gallery, Joan and Donald E. Axinn Library, Ninth Floor, South Campus

This interactive, immersive program will be a profoundly moving experience encouraging people to think about the harsh realities of incarceration and talk about how communities can address the problem. Discussion ed by representatives from the Herstory Writers WorkshopFree and open to the public.

Hidden in Sight: A Community Conversation, Thursday, November 1, 4-6 p.m.

Lowenfeld Conference and Exhibition Hall, Axinn Library, 10th Floor, South Campus

Participate in a conversation that addresses the acute “school-to-prison pipeline” phenomenon, how it affects our society, and what can be done to address this national trend in which students of color are disproportionately criminalized through the education system. Facilitator SM Rodriguez, PhD, assistant professor of criminology, Department of Sociology, Hofstra University, will be joined by other experts in the field. Free and open to the public.


Additional related programs that are free and open to the public:

Film Screening and Discussion – The Central Park Five (2012), Tuesday, October 9, 6:30 p.m.

Student Center Theater, Mack Student Center

Discussion to follow screening led by Dr. Natalie P. Byfield, St. John’s University.

The Central Park Five Discussion with Dr. Natalie P. Byfield, Wednesday, October 17, 11:10 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library, First Floor, South Campus

In this discussion, Dr. Natalie P. Byfield will illuminate the race, class, and gender biases in the massive media coverage of the crime and the prosecution of the now-exonerated defendants. In her book, Savage Portrayals, Byfield casts new light on this famous crime and its far-reaching consequences for the wrongly accused and the justice system.

Black and Brown Confinement: Intersectional Politics of Mass Incarcerations and Mass Detention in Contemporary America with Dr. Valeria Luiselli, Monday, December 3, 2:45-4:30 pm

Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library, First Floor, South Campus

Recipient of the Center for “Race’” Culture and Social Justice Faculty Summer Research Grant 2018,

Dr. Valeria Luiselli, will lecture on her research as she articulates how both incarceration and immigrant detention in a single, complex, and multilayered study of a particular form of apartheid and political violence in today’s America.

Please visit the Hofstra Cultural Center Events for additional related programs.


For more information about the exhibit and associated public programs, call (516) 463-5672 or visit the Hofstra University Museum of Art website.

The Hofstra University Museum of Art has been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive, continued accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Approximately 3% of museums nationwide have earned this distinguished recognition. Accreditation certifies that the Hofstra University Museum operates according to professional standards, manages its collections responsibly and provides quality service to the public.

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Ginny Greenberg

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