Newcity Names Assistant Professor Maria Gaspar 2020's "Artist of the Moment"

Maria Gaspar | Photo: Nathan Keay, courtesy of Newcity

Assistant Professor Maria Gaspar was recently named Newcity's "2020 Artist of the Moment." In the interview, she discussed radical complicity and how spatial justice informs her work. Since 2012, Gaspar has collaborated on several community-based site-interventions with the incarcerated at Cook County Jail, the largest prison in the country. Projects like Unblinking Eyes, Watching or Haunting Raises Specters [by A.G.] challenge us to confront our understanding of spatial privilege and how prisons create otherness within our communities. For the interview, Gaspar specifically discusses Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall, in which audio and animated stories created by detained individuals are projected on the north-end wall bordering Cook County Jail, bringing silenced voices to public view. Gaspar also shared her thoughts on the role of the artist during the pandemic and protests, saying, "There has to be an opportunity to radicalize something in some way, criticize something, interrogate something, if that is not present then it is just complicity."