From the Wires
Eastern State Penitentiary Offers Nighttime Flashlight Tours of Judith Schaechter's Critically-Acclaimed Stained Glass Window Installation
By: PR Newswire
Nov. 14, 2012 12:42 PM
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Eastern State Penitentiary commemorates the final month of Judith Schaechter's critically-acclaimed stained glass window installation with special nighttime flashlight tours of the work before it will be removed on December 3, 2012.
A one-hour flashlight tour led by an expert Eastern State tour guide will take visitors to Cellblocks 8, 11, and 14 to see all 17 windows that comprise Schaechter's The Battle of Carnival and Lent. Each window will be lit with floodlights from the outside, dramatically filling the cells and corridors only with light passing through the stained glass. The flashlights in visitors' hands will light the walk between cellblocks.
Flashlight tours are available on the following dates:
About The Battle of Carnival and Lent:
The Battle of Carnival and Lent responds to the penitentiary's narrow skylights and arched windows. The imagery, which Ms. Schaechter describes as "addressing in a non-religious way the psychological border territory between 'spiritual aspiration' and human suffering," is evocative of theology but secular in purpose.
The figures depicted are literally confined by the unnaturally tall and skinny apertures of the window frames – squished, cropped, straining, and reaching – as a representation of the types of incarceration that are basic to the human experience. Ms. Schaechter balances them with more traditional, cathedral-esque stained glass windows, based very loosely on the design of 13th century European cathedral windows (e.g. Chartres). Her intention is to draw an association between the prison's original purpose – to provide an environment conducive to self-reflection and, ultimately, penance – and the harsh realities of solitary confinement.
Ms. Schaechter's past work has almost entirely been installed in museums and galleries as panels over lightboxes. The Battle of Carnival and Lent is unique for both its response to a specific environment as well as for its use of full-spectrum light to illuminate the windows. Ms. Schaechter is often asked which architectural setting she sees as ideal for her work, and her response is always the same...Eastern State Penitentiary. Explains Ms. Schaechter, "ESP is precious to me. It's my hometown. It's my place."
Judith Schaechter Bio
Artist Installations at Eastern State
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone's Cell, and Death Row. A critically acclaimed series of artist installations is free with admission. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students and children ages 7-12 (not recommended for children under the age of seven). The penitentiary is open every day, year round. April through November, admission includes "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. For more information and schedules, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit easternstate.org.
Artist installations are supported through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Arts programming is also made possible with funding from Eastern State's Halloween fundraiser, Terror Behind the Walls.
Judith Schaechter's work appears courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, NY. It was funded on USA Projects, an initiative of United States Artists.
SOURCE Eastern State Penitentiary
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