"It has often been said that an artist should work for himself, for the love of art, and scorn success. It is a false idea. An artist needs success. Not only in order to live, but primarily so that he can realize his work . . . The majority judges a work of art in relation to its success. So why leave success to 'successful [artists]'? Each generation has them. But where is it written that success must always go to those who flatter the public taste? For myself, I wanted to prove that success can be obtained without compromise, even in opposition to all the prevailing doctrines."
— Pablo Picasso


William Noguera a.k.a. “The Escape Artist” Solo Exhibit,
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
New work from Death Row’s greatest artist makes a splash this summer:
ONE NIGHT ONLY: Wednesday, July 18th 6:30-10pm

Sensing Adolf - Self Portrait
Voices Carry

All images © 2007 Institute For Unpopular Culture

The Institute For Unpopular Culture is proud to present the second retrospective of the works San Quentin’s self-taught artistic visionary William Noguera, in conjunction with a short documentary about him, “The Ghost in the Material,” by Stanford MFA Film candidate Kelcey Edwards. Film Arts Foundation presents “Bad Boys of Summer,” directed by Tiller Russell & Loren Mendell: startling new look at our national pastime, baseball, as played by the San Quentin Giants. Join us on Wednesday, July 18th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for opening night festivities 6:30pm-10pm (attendance to art exhibit is FREE and open to the public). The Yerba Buena is located at 701 Mission St. @ 3rd, see www.ybca.org for nearby paid parking facilities.

William Noguera is an artist unparalleled in artistic vision and creative tenacity. From the confines of his 4x10 foot cell on Death Row at the notorious San Quentin State Prison, down on his knees, hunched over a makeshift easel erected from his steel mattress frame, he crafts painstaking canvases of chilling beauty and great emotional depth. A personal tragedy when he was eighteen led him to be convicted and sentenced to death in what Robert Bryan, Mr. Noguera's defense attorney, calls “a travesty of justice.” Mr. Bryan is available for interviews concerning William’s case.

Even though William was fated to live on Death Row, it is the story of transcendence and rehabilitation through art that is at the inspirational heart of the matter. Mr. Noguera is a completely self-taught artist; he has been imprisoned since 1983. During an enforced 27 day stay in solitary confinement, William began to draw on the walls of his cell, and has focused on this means of expression ever since to escape the confines of his difficult circumstances. He describes his artistic style as “hyper-realistic, neo-cubism in ink stippling.” Through the careful placement of thousands of individual black dots, dramatic images rise to life—each piece requires hundreds of hours for completion. Please follow this link to view more of William's work: www.ifuc.org/noguera.html.

Often, those condemned to death find religion as a comfort, but William has found art to be his salvation and redemption, every bit as powerful as the strength he draws from his Colombian culture and Latino heritage. In 2004, Mr. Noguera contacted the Institute for help in making his art known to the world. Upon seeing his work, we became convinced that William is a creator of the first rank; his story and his artistic genius MUST be shared with the world. William has exhibited at Space Gallery and at Ruby Skye as part of the SF Weekly’s Mastermind’s competition; his work was featured in 2006 at the Louvre in Paris, France.




Kelcey Edwards began her filmmaking career in Austin, Texas in 2003. Over the past four years she has directed seven short films and crewed on dozens of other film projects. Her films have screened at TriParTite Film Festival and SXSW Film Festival and “The Ghost in the Material” screened at this year’s Mendocino Film Festival. She is currently one of eight students enrolled in the MFA Documentary Film & Video Program at Stanford University.

The Ghost in the Material” presents a haunting, outsider's look at the black and white world of William Noguera, a self-taught artist working from his cell at San Quentin State Prison. It is shot in black & white 16mm film, running time 4min 10 secs.

Bad Boys of Summer”, directed by Tiller Russell & Loren Mendell, is an Official Selection of 2007 Slamdance Film Festival, and follows the charismatic coach of the San Quentin Giants though his final season with the prison baseball program as he tries to change the lives of the men on the team. For advance tickets to the July 18th screening ($8), call 415-978-ARTS For more information, please contact David Ferguson, Executive Director, Institute For Unpopular Culture, at David@ifuc.org or Cassandra Richardson, Creative Director, IFUC at Cassandra@ifuc.org.


Institute For Unpopular Culture voted "Visual Arts Masterminds Organization" by SF Weekly!


1984 Original Limited Edition Basquiat Album Cover

(as seen in the SF Weekly Feature on IFUC Dec. 27th, 2006)


The Institute For Unpopular Culture was established as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization in 1989. IFUC has changed its mission and status and is now a Private Organization in the USA and EU. We no longer accept tax deductible donations in the USA.

Institute For Unpopular Culture
1592 Union St. #226 San Francisco, CA 94123



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