The Last Supper: Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates

An art installation by Julie Green, Professor at Oregon State University
(Julie Green will not be present at our tour.)

Podcast

For 15 years, Julie Green has painted images of death row inmates’ last meal requests in cobalt blue mineral paint onto second-hand ceramic plates. She intends to continue making 50 plates per year until capital punishment is abolished. 

Every plate in “The Last Supper” is accompanied by a description of the meal request, date and state — but no more. Without naming the inmate or crime, the meals highlight the human dimension of capital punishment. The plates function as anonymous portraits that when grouped together suggest a memorial to lost life on a mass scale.

The Last Supper underscores the practice of offering a last meal before execution, while exposing the uneven practices and policies of the state-administered capital punishment system. For instance, while cigarettes are not allowed in prisons, a New York inmate received a pack of Pall Malls for a last meal in 1963; while in 2011, after a Texas inmate failed to eat a particularly lavish meal, state ended the policy of honoring last meal requests.

Julie Green was born in Japan in 1961. A professor at OregonStateUniversity, she lives in the WillametteValley with her husband Clay Lohmann and their small cat, Mini.  Half of each year, usually winter months, is spent on The Last Supper. In summer, Green paints personal narratives. Green has had twenty-seven solo exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, been featured in The New York Times, a Whole Foods mini-documentary, National Public Radio, Ceramics Monthly and Gastronomica.

NorthwesternUniversity played a critical role in eradication of the death penalty in Illinois. The catalyst for debate around capital punishment was a 1998 conference at NorthwesternUniversity’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, at which 29 exonerated death row inmates gave voice to the errors of the system.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
6:45 pm Docent guided tour commences promptly
Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
Free Parking after 4 PM – Parking and directions.  (Museum closes at 8:00 PM)

This program is hosted by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable. To reserve, please call (847) 432-8255, then leave your name, telephone number and how many people in your party or e-mail: [email protected]