Public Engagement

General Public

State of Exception/Estado de Excepción

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 2 West 13th Street New York, NY 10011

Opening reception: Thursday, February 2, 2016, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

State of Exception/Estado de Excepción presents traces of the human experience—objects left behind in the desert by undocumented migrants on their journey into the U.S. and other forms of data, all collected as part of the research of University of Michigan anthropologist Jason De León’s Undocumented Migration project.  De León’ sees the materials as fragments of a history, revealing death, trauma, and suffering on both sides of the border while bringing to light complexities of the migrant experience.

This exhibition, created by artist/photographer Richard Barnes and artist/curator Amanda Krugliak in collaboration with anthropologist De León, includes an installation of hundreds of backpacks left behind by migrants crossing the Arizona desert as well as numerous pieces of clothing and ephemera, and video images created by Richard Barnes on location along the Mexico-United States border. The installation also includes excerpts of original recordings of audio interviews with migrants, all part of De León’s work.

In the many years now since Jason De León and his team commenced this research, State of Exception/Estado de Excepción has continued to evolve, constantly updated to reflect De León’s findings, the ongoing public debate around immigration, as well as the continuous efforts towards immigration reform, and inevitable backlash.  Now, more than ever, in the aftermath of a presidential campaign that fed off anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, it is absolutely critical to look deeper into the migrant experience and raise questions as to what the future may hold for the thousands of people fleeing dire poverty, drug cartel violence, and political instability to the south.

Event Type

Exhibitions and Openings


General Public


Sheila C. Johnson Design Center


Art and Design, Humanity, Society, Social Justice, International and Global, Politics, Policy and Government, Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas


Parsons School of Design


Anthropology, Economics, Fine Arts, Global Studies and Migration, Photography, Storytelling and Communication, Social Justice


Additional Details

From February 2nd-April 17th, open daily from 12-6 pm, late on Thursdays until 8 pm. CLOSED Sunday, April 16 for Easter Sunday.

Recent Activity

People Interested (14)

Glenn Koko Mariantonietta Davoli Jason De León Luiza Testa Ever E. Osorio Ruiz
Yolanda Urrabazo Cáit O'Riordan Oliver Arellano Padilla Ingrid Bonetti Veloz Gonzalo Bust

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.