Dayton Art Institute: The Last Supper

    A Dead Man Walking Series Event

    Date: February 21 - April 12, 2015

    Time: During museum hours

    Off-campus Location: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North

    Sponsors: Department of Art and Design; Graul Chair in Arts and Languages; Office of the President

    Presented in Partnership with: The Dayton Art Institute

    Birthday CakeAs part of a city-wide conversation on Human Rights, Faith and Reason during 2015, the Dayton Art Institute and the University of Dayton present artist Julie Green's The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates. This installation of delicately painted porcelain plates raises tough questions about the humanity of the death penalty and will be on view at The Dayton Art Institute from February 21 to April 12, 2015. The exhibit is in support and in conjunction with the Dayton Opera’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and a February 26 lecture at the University of Dayton by Sr. Helen Prejean, author of the book Dead Man Walking.

    This installation depicts the final meal requests of U.S. death row inmates and brings a sense of palpable immediacy to the reality of the death penalty in America. For the artist Julie Green, the work illustrates the very human aspect of nurturing an individual condemned to death, but the art also raises the complexities of "the death penalty, the victims, the heinous crimes committed, the individuals executed, the large number of minorities on death row and the margin for error in judicial process."

    Green, a Professor of Art at Oregon State University, identifies the plates by the execution date and last meal, never by the inmate’s last name. Her intention is to focus conversation on the question of human rights and the fact that America is one of the few countries with capital punishment. Guest curator Judith Huacuja, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Design, and Danielle Poe, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton, will converse about the installation in Gallery 121 at The Dayton Art Institute. This gallery talk on March 25 from 4-5pm is free of charge and the public is encouraged to attend.

    The artist is nationally renowned and is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painter and Sculptors Award. Her project has received national media attention in outlets as diverse as the New York Times, National Public Radio and magazines Ceramic Monthly and Gastronomica. She plans to add plates to the collection every year until capital punishment is abolished.

    Artist's note: All plates are cobalt mineral paint on kiln-fired ceramics. Antoni Acock is technical advisor and fires every plate.

    Photos: (Top) The Last Supper, 2000-ongoing. Installation view of 357 plates in the 2009 exhibition Counter Intelligence, California State University, Los Angeles. (At Left) Indiana 05 May 2007 Pizza and birthday cake shared with 15 family and friends. A prison official said "He told us he never had a birthday cake so we ordered a birthday cake for him."

    This event is open to the public. Admission is free for University of Dayton students. Suggested general admission: $8 for adults; $5 for age 60 and over; free for age 17 and under.

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