CR member brings PIC abolition to the art world

While most of the artists emphasize the positive aspects of bringing attention to mass incarceration, Christine Wang, a young Los Angeles painter who studied under Andrea Fraser at the University of California, Los Angeles, is skeptical. “My paintings can’t vote,” Ms. Wang said matter-of-factly, adding that her work mostly deals with her feelings of guilt over her privilege as an artist. This is why she decided to help organize art auctions for Critical Resistance, a nonprofit that fights the building of more prisons in Louisiana and California.

In her most recent work, Ms. Wang adorned cardboard boxes with gold-leaf lettering that read #dineLA and #1stworldproblems. The hashtags refer to the gentrification of downtown Los Angeles. Shops, restaurants and art galleries have moved in, leading law enforcement to ticket homeless people for carrying open containers of alcohol. If they can’t pay the fines, they end up in jail.

“The art world,” she said, “is complicit in the mechanisms of racism and incarceration.”