The The O.G. Experience , an unprecedented art exhibit that showcases works exclusively created by formerly incarcerated artists, is now open in NYC! Featuring a national cohort of seventeen artists from various disciplines, the 30-plus featured works lend themselves to a broad, multifaceted response to mass incarceration, using video, sculpture, painting, photography, commissioned installations, poetry readings, and performances.
The opening of the pop-up at HBO Films’ O.G, accessible to the public from Feb. 20-25, kicked off this week with a First Look Reception attended by a bustling crowd of art enthusiasts, criminal justice activists and film buffs alike. Artists, including co-curator Jesse Krimes and co-chair Russell Craig, were in attendance, along with O.G. Director Madeleine Sackler, O.G. Executive Producer Kareem “Biggs” Burke and HBO Films’ President Len Amato. The evening’s short program featured a performance by Sherill Roland and a first look at the extended trailer of O.G., which had the audience jaw-dropped.
At its core, the exhibit expands the possibilities of how art might respond to a lived experience of confinement and helps reaffirm a larger truth: vast and rich human potential, artistic or otherwise, is wasted when 2.3 million people are behind bars. The U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, which is a human rights issue of epic proportions that needs to be addressed urgently, and with the expertise of those most impacted.
The O.G. Experience was inspired by HBO Films’ O.G, which will premiere on February 23rd. The O.G. Experience picks up where the film leaves off. It tells the stories of myriad individuals across the United States who have been involved in the prison system. The O.G. Experience intends to spark a conversation about the staggering effects incarceration has on our communities (both inside and outside of the penal system) and raises critical questions that will lead us to actionable solutions.