History and New Futures

  • The Thing Itself Was Unnecessary to Hold the Place Together
    • Travis Neel

    silkscreen on panel, 18” x 24”, 2020.

    Artist Statement 

    The work alludes to the Walpole Prison uprising. In 1973, through nonviolent means, prisoners took control of a maximum-security prison in Walpole, Massachusetts. The prisoner campaign, with support from citizen observers, was part of a larger movement advocating for the abolition of prisons. Under prisoner control, the prisoners were able to exercise self-determination and demonstrate to the media and the public that the prison itself was unnecessary.

    Artist Bio

    Travis Neel is an artist, educator, and serial collaborator. Neel’s creative practice is interdisciplinary; melding conceptual, curatorial, performative, and socially engaged art practices into new forms of cultural production. Neel’s work is research-based and context-specific. Each project takes shape in dialogue with the social, cultural, political, and historical circumstances where it’s situated and utilizes whatever forms are relevant and appropriate to get in the line of sight of various publics.

    Neel holds his MFA degree in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University and his BFA degree from Massachusetts College of Art. Neel is an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas Tech University.

    Neel’s collaborative work has been featured in the Agitprop! Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum; The Time Based Arts Festival at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, The Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum; the Out Of Sight Survey of Northwest Art in Seattle, Washington; the Converge 45 art fair; the Portland Art Museum; the Writ Large festival at The Great Wall of Oakland; the Hollywood theater in Portland, Oregon; and numerous DIY and public spaces across the United States. More at workabout.space.