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Cellblock 7

cellblock7Julie Courtney, curator bringing Janet Cardiff to Eastern State Penitentiary for a new piece in 2005, told me Cardiff selected ESP’s Cellblock 7 as the site for her work. (See my post and Libby’s post for more on Cardiff)

Courtney characterized the site as “ravishingly beautiful,” and because I was there the other day and took a picture, (shown) this will give you some idea of what she meant. (notice the trees growing through the walls and the missing roof for starters)

Right now, most of Cellblock 7 is off limits to visitors due to issues of safety. Courtney said there was fundraising underway to get money for infrastructure repairs.

What you can see, if you climb up the stairs to a guard lookout mezannine, (where the pictures were taken) is the space’s potential and why Cardiff, whose work has a spooky Edgar Allen Poe quality, would be drawn to it.


Whatever the artist produces for the prison will perfectly complement the site’s gothic excellence.

Look hard and you’ll see a couple of Linda Brenner‘s Ghost Cats. See Libby’s post for more on that installation of 39 white kitty sculptures around the prison.