ABSTRACT

Mining the Museum was curated by artist Fred Wilson at Baltimore’s Maryland Historical Society. The exhibits have been described as ‘exploding’ their past, an impact that is also apt to describe the HBO television crime drama series also set in and around Baltimore, The Wire (2002-8). Mostly using African American actors (reflecting the demographic makeup of Baltimore) the 60 episodes of the HBO series also ‘mine’ the city’s institutional relations of race and power. The Wire encapsulates the failure of America’s so-called war on crime. Both cultural texts ‘do’ effective history by dealing with the affective power of difference and resentment in race relations.