Running through January 13, 2018, "Re-imagining a Safe Space" explores critical questions regarding the idea of a safe space through artists, activists, and students who have confronted these issues in their respective circumstances and work.

Safe Space images. Top left, a man sits alone. Bottom left, children sleep in a room. Top right, crowd of people, Bottom left, people in a field with "Truth" sign

Re-imagining A Safe Space, co-curated by Deborah Willis and Melissa Harris and running through January 13, 2018, explores critical questions regarding the idea of a safe space. Through text and image, the exhibition depicts the perspectives of artists, activists, and students who have confronted these issues in their respective circumstances and work.

Re-imagining A Safe Space is the second in a series of two exhibitions in partnership with The Nathan Cummings Foundation. It will be installed in the Gulf + Western Gallery (1st floor rear lobby) and the 8th Floor Gallery at 721 Broadway.

Safe space––as a concept, phrase and reality —currently dominates so many of our conversations. Events over the past year have forced college campuses to wrestle, both in and outside of the classroom, with some of the most difficult issues of our generation––with varying degrees of success. We’ve asked: how can today's college campuses––long considered and celebrated as protected spaces for self-expression, for activism, for questioning––continue to foster an environment of critical, intellectual, and creative dialogue in such a polarized moment in our nation’s history. We know that the topics being discussed, or the discussions themselves, may at times be painful, and may even intensify feelings of alienation, of otherness, so how do we create a space where this, too, may be addressed? How do we encourage engagement—given the intrinsic “risks” of laying oneself, one’s beliefs on the line? How do we discourage institutional or self-censorship, even when we know that in an intellectually open environment, ideas may be expressed that could offend someone, albeit unintentionally?

This exhibition looks closely at the ever-changing notions and manifestations of, and challenges to safe spaces. Re-imagining A Safe Space explores the workplace, daycare, classrooms, clubs, the home, public spaces among many other presumably safe spaces. The project also suggests some very basic questions, such as: is it our “right,” as family members, friends, colleagues, students, community members, citizens… to feel safe?

The exhibition includes works by 28 photographers, video artists, and visual artists, including: Mangue Banzima, Martin Bell & Mary Ellen Mark, Nina Berman, Zoë Buckman, Cause Collective (Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Will Sylvester, Hank Willis Thomas), Elizabeth Colomba, Bruce Davidson, Bryan Denton, Erika deVries, Wendy Ewald, Donna Ferrato, Samara Gaev, Caran Hartsfield, Lili Holzer-Glier, Jessica Ingram, Austin Irving, Michael Koehler, Barbara Kruger, Zoraida Lopez-Diago, Lorie Novak, Gordon Parks, John Francis Peters, Mark Peterson, Alice Proujansky, Safe Spaces Collective (Myles Golden, Nathaniel Palmer, Mallika Vora), Scheherazade Tillet, Sophia Tsanos, Danny Wilcox Frazier, and David Wojnarowicz

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free. Photo identification is required for access to the building. For more information, visit or call 212.998.1930.

The Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts is a four-year B.F.A. program centered on the making and understanding of images. Students explore photo-based imagery as personal and cultural expression. Situated within New York University, the program offers students both the intensive focus of an arts curriculum and a serious and broad grounding in the liberal arts.

The Nathan Cummings Foundation is rooted in the Jewish tradition and committed to democratic values and social justice, including fairness, diversity, and community. We seek to build a socially and economically just society that values nature and protects the ecological balance for future generations; promotes humane health care; and fosters arts and culture that enriches communities.


Press Contact

Shonna Keogan
Shonna Keogan
(212) 998-6796