College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
Juvenile In Justice
Learn More about the "Juvenile In Justice" project here

Juvenile In Justice (promotional image)
Photograph by Richard Ross, Juvenile In Justice 
This exhibition courtesy of Richard Ross,

Our teen ways can be misunderstood because they [authority figures] don't understand us as teens even though they've been in our position.  It's hard explaining to authority because they think of us as just a bunch of wild bohemians. -Anonymous Memphis Teen


  • Exhibitions: September 20-November 26, 2014
  • Opening reception: Friday, Sept. 19 from 5-7 p.m., Art Museum of the University of Memphis
  • Lecture by Richard Ross following the reception at 7 p.m., Art & Communication Building, Room 310
  • Coffee with the artists: Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to noon


Coinciding Exhibitions, which all open the same evening at AMUM:             

Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross

Perceptions of Me: Memphis Project by Penny Dodds

ArtLab. Eduardo Benamor Duarte: Fijiji Blocks

CASEWORKS. Ruxandra Olariu: Here and There

Music Production workshop of story booth and Visible Community Music School (to perform during reception)



Juvenile-in-Justice: Photographs by Richard Ross

On any given day, about 70,000 young people are in juvenile detention or correctional facilities. This multidisciplinary exhibition and project by photographer Richard Ross documents the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist, and occasionally, harm them.  Ross has photographed and interviewed more than 1,000 juveniles at more than 200 facilities in 31 states. The work exists at the juncture of art, social practice and politics.  

About Richard Ross:

Richard Ross is a photographer, researcher and professor of art based in Santa Barbara, California. Ross has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Fulbright, and the Center for Cultural Innovation. Ross was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 to complete work on Architecture of Authority, a critically acclaimed body of thought-provoking and unsettling photographs of architectural spaces worldwide that exert power over the individuals confined within them. Ross’s Guggenheim support also helped launch an investigation of the world of juvenile corrections and the architecture encompassing it. This led to Ross’s most recent work, Juvenile In Justice, which turns a lens on the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them. A book and traveling exhibition of the work continue to see great success while Ross collaborates with juvenile justice stakeholders, using the images as a catalyst for change.

Ross's work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern, London; National Building Museum, Washington D.C; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Aperture Gallery, New York; ACME. Gallery, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. He was the principal photographer for the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Museum on many of their architectural projects. He has photographed extensively for the Canadian Center for Architecture, Nike, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, SF Examiner, Vogue, COLORS, Courrier,  and many more. A dozen books of his work have been published including Architecture of Authority (Apeture 2007), Waiting for the End of the World (Princeton Architectural Press 2005), Gathering Light (University of New Mexico 2001) and Museology (Apeture 1988). Ross is a Distinguished Professor of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 1977.


Lecture by Richard Ross
With an engaging, multimedia presentation Richard Ross provides an indispensable visual dimension to the understanding of the juvenile justice system, revealing both the obsolete and effective practices currently serving juveniles. Through photographs and audio, the lecture presents a humanizing survey of the lives and narratives of incarcerated youth. These powerful visual testaments will initiate discussion about this faulty system and where changes must occur to better serve our most vulnerable kids.

story booth performance of “Trust Us”
The free Music Production workshop of story booth and Visible Community Music School leads middle and high school youth through the process of creating an original song, from concept to completion. Participants learn key elements of rhythm, melody, song structure, songwriting, arranging and recording under the guidance of professional producer Kirk Smith of Madison Line Records. Once the group has a finished single (Trust Us), they come up with a band name (The Misfits) and rehearse for a performance at a CD release party to celebrate their work before an audience.


Art Museum University of Memphis, 142 Communication & Fine Arts Building, University of Memphis


The Art Museum at the University of Memphis sponsors rotating exhibitions, consisting of contemporary art projects and 19th and 20th century art and design. In its six galleries, they also display permanent collections, including tradition based African art and Egyptian antiquities from the collection of the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology.


(also on view)

Perceptions of Me: Memphis Project by Penny Dodds
An exhibition that gives voice to more than 800 teenagers who are talked and written about, but rarely listened to, raising our awareness of how Memphis teens perceive themselves. This collaborative project is organized by Penny Dodds working with several innovative Memphis organizations that provide positive social and creative environments for youth in our community: BRIDGES, Caritas Village and story booth at Crosstown Arts.

Dodds conducted workshops for youth programs over the spring and summer asking teens to create a self-portrait. At the BRIDGES summer conference sessions the teens shared the self-portraits with each other. Facilitators and Mario Hendrix, Director of Youth Services, said that the art helped the teens understand themselves and each other better.

Dodds then asked the teens to describe how authority figures view teens with three words. These words will be displayed with the self-portraits. After the exercise Dodds said the teens recognized that how they felt perceived played a role in how they responded to authority and felt about themselves and their future.

Ten teens participated in an audio portion of the exhibition and described the pressures they face, what motivates them, how technology affects their lives, and what they would like others to understand about teenagers. “All of the teenagers I met take their lives seriously,” Dodds states. “What I would hope to change for teens today is more authentic engagement with others, permission to be honest and make mistakes, but to be supported by a community that remembers what it was like to be young.”

Penny Dodds in an artist, international educator, and independent museum curator. She is represented by Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis, TN.

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