|Now I Know My ABCs|
This sculpture, conceived in 2004, is a visual example showing the effects of the 1976 decision by the United
States Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty. By 2005, at the time this piece was initially completed,
976 men and women had been put to death. We are sadly still counting. The 30, steel-engraved blocks bear the names
of the executed and represent the idea that each of us was once a child—someone’s child. The steel blocks in a
bulletproof box refer to our shared childhood innocence, the agony of separation from loved ones, punishment,
and the irreversibility of an execution. In 2014, to keep the piece current, additional steel blocks were
fabricated and etched with more names of those executed. An accompanying written document also includes the
names of death-row prisoners that were since exonerated.
Capital punishment in the US is an ongoing topic of passionate concern. As the federal government continues to
uphold it, it is subject to the conscience and political climate of individual states.
For more information
see: deathpenaltyinfo.org .