Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. As long as we refuse to address fully the place of love in struggles for liberation we will not be able to create a culture of conversion where there is a mass turning away from an ethic of domination.- bell hooks
No Justice Without Love presents a selection of works by artists, activists, and allied donors that make up the Art for Justice Fund (A4J) community and beyond. Art for Justice, which was initially funded in 2017 by philanthropist Agnes Gund, advances policy reform, shifts public narratives on criminal justice, and promotes the leadership of formerly incarcerated people while centering art as a catalyst to propel change. The exhibition includes work from formerly incarcerated and allied artists alongside submissions by former and current A4J grantees.
This exhibition is rooted in the theory of “Love as the Practice of Freedom” proposed by American author, theorist, educator, and social critic bell hooks, who is best known for her writings on race, feminism, and class. hooks asserts love’s capacity to overcome domination, writing that: Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or the other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination—imperialism, sexism, racism, classism. With this powerful ethos in mind, this exhibition proposes love as a pathway to justice: individual and collective healing and transformation—fueled by a desire to work for and embrace one despite our differences—can be a means to abolish mass incarceration. The title of this exhibition was inspired by a billboard created by writer Jimmy Wu, in collaboration with the For Freedoms artist collective. The phrase “No Justice Without Love” epitomizes the relationship between the work, the efforts of the A4J community, and bell hooks’ theory.
No Justice Without Love demonstrates how the combined efforts of artists, cultural activists, and philanthropists can make a meaningful impact on our society. Art has a special power to create visual, literary, and auditory experiences that challenge and enrich our perspectives. By shedding light on the history of art and advocacy that preceded A4J and placing its work in context, the exhibition aims to build excitement for future work.
No Justice Without Love is curated by Daisy Desrosiers, Director and Chief Curator at The Gund at Kenyon College. This iteration is adapted from its presentation at The Ford Foundation Gallery, which was on view from April 4 to June 30, 2023.
We are delighted to host artist Maria Gaspar from March 22-23, 2024 for a special punch party in conjunction with her project, Disappearance Jail, commissioned for this iteration of No Justice Without Love. More information to come.