new-york

Louis Camnitzer

Alexander Grey Associates

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has made public the last words of all death row inmates executed since 1982. The statements are published, with a chilling evocation of social networking sites, in the online profile of each offender. Generally, they are brief, emphasizing love for family members and forgiveness for executioners, and offering testimonials to the innocence of fellow death row inmates. To read them is to be a voyeur in the first degree—albeit one that humanizes an otherwise unseen other. It is this apparently paradoxical duality that informs Louis Camnitzer’s most compelling work. In his recent exhibition at Alexander Grey Associates, Camnitzer showed two works examining the politics of capital punishment: Last Words, 2008, and Sifter (The Mechanism for Killing a Spectator), 1978.

Given that the work was made two years after the United States’ reinstatement of the

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