Beverly Baker Moore :
METRO EVENT | Wake Up*Dead Men

Bruce Jackson will be joined by the ‘San Antonio Four’ at La Peña’s opening of his Texas prison photography retrospective.

cummins prison farm bruce jackson

Cummins Prison Farm, 1975. Photo by Bruce Jackson, whose retrospective is opening at Austin’s La Peña Gallery.

By Beverly Baker Moore | The Rag Blog | May 18, 2015

Event: ‘Wake*Up, Dead Men: A Retrospective of Bruce Jackson’s Prison Farm Photography and Film Work, 1965-1975’
Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 2015, 6-8 p.m.
Exhibit: June 5-30, 2015
Where: La Peña Gallery
Address: 227 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701
Gallery hours: Mon-Fri, 8-5 p.m.; Sat, 8-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

AUSTIN — “Wake*Up Dead Men,” a retrospective of Bruce Jackson’s Texas Prison Farm Photography, 1965-1975, opens with a public reception on Friday, June 5, 2015. 6-8 p.m., at Austin’s La Peña Gallery.  Jackson is an American folklorist, documentary filmmaker, writer, and photographer.

Bruce Jackson will be joined at the June 5 reception by the San Antonio Four — four women convicted in a 1994 child sexual abuse case who are now seeking exoneration in Texas courts — and several Texas prison exonorees. They will share their perspectives on prison reform initiatives.

At the reception, La Peña will screen on continuous loop two of Bruce Jackson’s historical films, African American Worksongs in a Texas Prison (1966), which he co-directed with folk singer Pete Seeger, and Death Row (1979), co-directed with Diana Christian, Jackson’s wife.

bruce jackson

Bruce Jackson.

As recently as the 1970s, many inmates in Southern prisons lived and worked on prison farms that were not only modeled after the American slave plantation, but occupied former slave plantation lands. Bruce Jackson began visiting these prisons in the 1960s to study and record convict work songs and folk culture.

A renowned photographer, folklorist, and documentarian, Bruce Jackson is Professor of American Culture at the University of Buffalo. He has edited or authored 33 books, and has directed and produced five documentary films. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, was nominated for a Grammy, was president of the American Folklore Society, and is a trustee of the Newport Folk Foundation.

The exhibit, curated by documentarian Debora S. Espquenazi, benefits the Innocence Project of Texas. Collaborators for this exhibit, which will hang through June 30, include the University of Texas Press, La Peña Gallery, and Humanities Texas.

La Peña Gallery, run by sisters  Cynthia and Lidia Pérez, is a community organization designed to support artistic development, to provide exposure to emerging local visual artists, musicians, poets, and other performing artists, and to offer Austin residents the full spectrum of traditional and contemporary Latino art.

Located at 327 Congress Ave. in Austin,  La Peña is open weekdays from 8-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8-3. The June 5 opening reception is free and open to the public.

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