about | history | documentation | press | get involved | contacts | statements | news |



Two To Dwell Upon

Columbus Dispatch- March 15,2008 [Kaizaad Kotwal]

“..the exhibits piece de resistance is the installation The House That Herman Built by artist Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace…
Home maybe where the heart is but this consciusness-raising exhibit proclaims that to ignore the issues of home for others is heartless.”

newsweek Columbus Dispatch


For a Home Away From the Big House

Newsweek - p. 8, November 5th, 2007 [Zvika Krieger]

"What kind of house does a man who has spent 35 years in a 2-meter, by 3-meter cell at a Louisiana prison dream of ?...
as much about politics as design, the show draws attention to what Sumell claims is the injustice of Wallace's conviction
and the enduring racism of U.S. criminal law. Amnesty International calls Wallace's current home as "cruel, inhuman,
and degrading" but he maintains a unique vision of the good life.


Mr. 76759 Designs His Dream House

The New York Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007 [Chris Colin]

[...] An artist and a prisoner in solitary confinement create a project with an agenda.... Minor improvements still occur to him,
but Herman Wallace has more or less finished his dream house. It's got a yellow kitchen, a hobby shop and custom-made pecan
cabinets. It should be noted that no actual house exists (yet), but this is understandable. Mr Wallace has been in solitary
confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola for the last 34-years....The time capsule of prison can be glimpsed in
his preference of a 1970's aesthetic....What's arresting about the design is the singular approach to architectural planning that
brought it to being- Miss Sumell calls herself the tube Herman's ideas go through-and the emotional candor that infused the process.
The letters in the book reveal excitement but also pain. In them Mr Wallace refers to Miss Sumell at times as a daughter,
and at other times as a sister. [...]

New York times

The house that Herman built

domus 77 - December 2006 [Edited by Fabrizio Gallanti and Loredana Mascheroni]

It is an extreme story, the story of Herman Wallace. A story that, from within the walls of Angola State Penitentiary
in Louisiana, spreads quickly through the pages of a magazine. Among other things, the story describes how the chance
to imagine spaces may help to resist.

[...] The exhibit’s contents and excerpts from their correspondence have been published in the 130-page book "The House that Herman Built"
by merz & solitude and designed by Katya Bonnenfant. Currently Herman and Jackie are hoping to find a donated land and a pro bono
architectural team to build the house. This project has transcended the boundaries of art and activism. It illustrates resistance, friendship and
the thresholds of humanity. Ultimately they wish to build the house and to bring in to fruition a dream from within a nightmare.[...]


Space for communication

The Irish Times - Monday, November 20, 2006 [Aidan Dunne]

[...] Tulca's focal point is a collaboration between an artist and a prisoner who was in solitary confinement for 34 years,
writes Aidan Dunne.
Inevitably, the centrepiece of this year's Tulca, Galway's season of visual arts, is Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace's
The House that Herman Built. It's an unusual collaboration, to say the least, in that one of the partners, Wallace, contributed
to it from behind bars, in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (US). By happy coincidence, just prior to the launch of Tulca,
a judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to overturn Wallace's conviction. Mind you, he had by then served 34 years,
most in solitary confinement, for a crime he didn't commit. This means that he spent at least 23 hours a day in a six-by-nine foot
cell. To help us visualize it, the installation in the Galway Arts Centre incorporates a full-size plywood mock-up of the cell.[...]

Irish Times


VAI review (circa)- November 2006 [Katherine Waugh]

[...] Two works which dominated the season were Jackie Sumell's The House That Herman Built, an installation in the Galway Arts Centre,
>and Pierre Huyghe's This is Not a Time for Dreaming at NUIG, both confrontational yet emerging from different aesthetics.
The House That Herman Built, with its ideological foundation rooted in the campaigning spirit of Sumell, captured the Galway
public's imagination in a major way based as it was on a five-year dialogue between Sumell and Herman Wallace.... Rarely has a work
such as Foucault's analysis of penal technologies in Discipline and Punishment seemed more relevant than in the manifestation of
disciplinary power filtered through the techniques of 'panopticism' found in this project.[...]

VAI review


- An interview with Joseph Delpesco: click here to listen

- Imagining spaces as a strategy for survival — Jean Baptist Joly

- Catherine Perret [coming soon]