The House that Herman Built involves a collaboration between the artist and activist Jackie Sumell and the inmate and Black Panther Herman Wallace. Their conversation took focus when, in 2002, Sumell asked Wallace the question: “What kind of a house does a man who has lived in a six-foot-by-nine-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?” Since then the project has grown into a publication, including 5 years of conversation with Wallace, an architectural fly-through video narrated by Robert King Wilkerson (also a member of the Angola 3, released in 2001), and exhibitions in Germany and Ireland. More recent developments include an article in the New York Times by Chris Colin, the production of blue-prints for the house by architect Scott Gustofson, and the beginning of a documentary film by Angad Bhalla.
For the exhibition at Artists Space, the first time the project as a whole will be exhibited in the United States, Sumell will present a timeline of their collaboration, a recreation of Herman’s cell, the fly-through video and other materials. A poster including the blueprints, and a conversation between exhibition curator Joseph del Pesco and Sumell will also be available.