What one word describes incarceration for you?
For the past nine years, brothers Steven and William Ladd have been exploring the world behind bars, working with inmates in the NYC Department of Corrections as part of their art practice. The Other Side, an exhibition on view at The Invisible Dog Art Center (September 12–November 7, 2020), featuring paintings, drawings, and sculptural works, is a culmination of their experience within the jail system and collaborations with inmates.
On September 23, the duo will take viewers on a virtual tour of the show, providing insight into the lives of prisoners in the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world.
The tour will be followed by a conversation with the artists. The Ladds will detail their first-hand exposure to the criminal justice system and engagement with inmates and answer questions from the audience.
40 minutes with Q&A
Watch on Demand
Please click on the “Rent $10” button on the video below to stream the talk. FIAF Members can watch it for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for the access code. Available until Nov 17, 2020.
Steven and William Ladd
New York-based artists and brothers Steven and William Ladd have been making art together since 2000.
The brothers grew up in a small close-knit community on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri, the third and fourth children in a loving and supportive Catholic family.
Steven, the older brother, was fascinated by sewing as a child. He began making his own clothes at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, where he became deeply involved in the costume department and built an independent study merging performance, design, and art. He graduated early, and left the Midwest to join William in 1999. William’s passion for beading began at 15, when a friend introduced him to macramé. Three years later, he left St. Louis and traveled the world as a fashion model with a bag of beads, finally settling in New York City.
Today, Steven acts as global ambassador, dreamer, thinker, communicator, and boundary pusher. He is the sewer, the book-binder, the pattern-maker. He makes drawings. He lays out plans for the future. William is the builder, the head of production, the disciplinarian, the beader, the performer. He meets every deadline and creates objects of breathtaking intricacy.
The brothers began their formal artistic collaboration in 2000. Their first creations were high fashion accessories for international designers, and their work was featured in an exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs at the Louvre. Since then, they have explored many artistic avenues, in particular sewing, beading, drawing and hand-made books. Their pieces range in scale from tiny cast ants to murals over 40 feet square. Signature works include abstracted “landscapes” based on shared memories, people and experiences. The landscapes are displayed in grids on the wall or hidden in stacked boxes, then opened and laid out in formal, ritualistic performances. Their work is hand crafted and labor intensive, and usually involves recycled materials. Recurring themes include childhood memories, faith, and people and places that have impacted their lives.
Steven and William are deeply committed to involving all kinds of people in their practice. They engage directly with school children and their families, special needs groups, inmates at correctional facilities and hospital patients. They dedicate themselves to three core values–Spend your Life Doing What you Love, Be Focused and Disciplined, Collaborate.