Lynn Hershman Leeson, The San Quentin Mural Project, 1976
Established by Hershman Leeson in 1974 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. Over three hundred artists were supported by this early, unprecedented, artist-curated model for exhibiting experimental public artworks.
A fundamental concept of The Floating Museum was to recycle existing resources and spaces with the intention of bringing artwork directly to viewers in untraditional settings, transforming local sites into temporary exhibition spaces. One such experiment was in collaboration with muralist Hilaire Dufresne and various inmates at San Quentin Prison in 1976. Together they worked to create a giant mural in the yard depicting the landscape just beyond the wall; a fantasy not of far-flung continents, but unobstructed vision. Kadist presents a conversation with Hershman Leeson on The Floating Museum with a focus on the San Quentin Mural Project. Kadist will also be joined by a current representative of the San Quentin Prison Arts Project, an initiative started in the wake of Hershman Leeson’s mural to create a sanctuary where inmates are treated with respect, courtesy, and an openness to their unique expressions as creative human beings.