What Are You Reading, Gregory Sale?

Categories: Literary

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Gregory Sale
Gregory Sale, who won the Mid-Career Artist Award at last year's Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Forum, passed the baton at the 2012 awards ceremony last week with an art opening in the museum's main hall.

He describes the work as a proposal for an outreach effort aimed toward at-risk youth at Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, helping them obtain their own court records and create poems with the documents by subtracting out the parts they don't want to define their life stories.

To prove it's possible, Sale collab'ed with Tucson-based poet TC Tolbert and installed the piece in Phoenix Art Museum. Tolbert took Sale's written proposal for the Tumbleweed project and pulled out words to create a three-poem series. Then, Sale decorated both sides of the museum walls with the select words.

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Tye Rabens
work by Pennsylvania life-sentence inmates, featured in Gregory Sale's Phoenix Art Museum exhibition

Across the room, Sale displays visual art by max security inmates serving life terms in the Pennsylvania prison system, from a 2011 workshop he ran in Graterford State Prison. The artist says he will complete the project with a video installation premier at the show's June 22 grand opening.

The work is heavily researched, interactive, and unafraid of text art -- characteristic of Sale. It also got us thinking: What does this guy read?

The ASU arts professor has summer off from teaching, but says he will spend three weeks at Yaddo artist residency in upstate New York, then head to another residency this summer in Southwest Virginia, which is close enough to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that he can commute to the city where he's participating in a group project next year. Not to mention a conference on "socially engaged art" this month in Portland.

Yet, Sale makes time to read, as he explained to Jackalope Ranch this week, as a source of inspiration, networking, and yes, even relaxation.



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