Lynn Hershman Leeson, The San Quentin Mural Project, 1976
Established by Lynn Hershman Leeson in 1975 and active through 1978, The Floating Museum commissioned and exhibited temporary, site-specific art in public spaces, first in the San Francisco Bay Area and then more widely in the United States, Italy, and France. A fundamental concept of the project was to recycle existing resources and spaces to bring artwork directly to viewers, transforming local and untraditional sites into temporary exhibition spaces. Over three hundred artists were supported by this early, unprecedented, artist-curated model for exhibiting experimental public artworks.
Forty years ago, in collaboration with muralist Hilaire Dufresne and inmates at San Quentin Prison, The Floating Museum sponsored a wall mural depicting Point San Quentin as if the prison had never been constructed; a fantasy not of far-flung continents, but natural land and sea. Kadist is pleased to present a conversation between curator Jordan Stein and Hershman Leeson on The Floating Museum with a focus on the mural project. Kadist is also joined by Dunya Alwan of the San Quentin Prison Arts Project, an initiative started in the wake of The Floating Museum mural to create a sanctuary where inmates are treated with respect, courtesy, and an openness to their unique expressions as creative human beings.