exhibition: Marking time in america - The Prison Works
4 August 2016 – 24 September 2016
Jesse Krimes: Marking Time in America- The Prison Works (2009-2013) served as the first solo gallery exhibition of work by Jesse Krimes in the US.
The exhibition featured two comprehensive bodies of work that Krimes completed during a six-year period of incarceration for a non-violent drug offense: Purgatory and Apokaluptein. Krimes produced Purgatory, which includes 292 separate portraits rendered on prison-issued bars of soap, during his first year of incarceration prior to sentencing while being held in a maximum security 23-hr "lock-down" environment. Apokaluptein resulted from three years of sustained artistic labor, during which time Krimes produced a large-scale tapestry using 39 individual federal prison bedsheets.
Marking Time in America enjoyed a strong critical reception and was the subject of features in the Wall Street Journal, Blouin, The Star Ledger, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, The Financial Times and multiple other media outlets.
This exhibition was presented in collaboration with JustLeadershipUSA.
Both works [by Jesse Krimes] are stunning: Purgatory--especially as displayed, on a long shelf with the cards against a black wall--because necessity made it so original, and heaven-and-earth Apokaluptein because its as good as Rauschenberg's similar works and, perhaps, more heartfelt and lyrical.
A tapestry on prison-issued bedsheets--a weird, oneiric landscape festooned with faeries, fields, and images transferred from prison copies of the New York Times and Artforum. Pictures of Rihanna and Taylor Swift, not to mention an ad for a Christie's Sale, assume a mournful character as absurdist totems of freedom while enduring draconian punishment.
The exhibition's centerpiece is a work...that Mr. Krimes made while at a federal prison in Fairton, NJ. He created a 39 panel mural on white prison bed sheets...The artist took photos from newspapers and magazines and transferred them onto the sheets using hair-gel to lift the image and a plastic spoon to rub the image onto the sheet. He then drew and painted his own figures onto the works. The panels move from heaven to hell and feature a riot of images whose subjects range from Hurricane Sandy to Taylor Swift, from Jean Michel-Basquiat to Chanel.
National Public Radio: Interview with Jesse Krimes
...‘Apokaluptein’ reads as a dream. Krimes depicts a mythical landscape far removed from his physical space. It is a place his demons and angels can dance. The images within each panel were crafted by using a spoon to smooth hair gel over clippings from newspapers and periodicals, including Artforum and Art in America! There are also drawings in pencil throughout the panels. There is a faded fresco quality to the transfers that mixes with the phantasmagoric content to remind one of an old religious mandala. It is inspiring to witness such greatness of imagination in such bleak circumstance. While his being was in lock down his spirit soared to explore alter realities.
Jesse Krimes (b. 1982, Lancaster, PA) lives and works in Philadelphia. His work Purgatory was exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris as part of the exhibition Le Bord des Mondes in 2015. Apokaluptein: 16389067 was shown at the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University. Other venues in which his artwork has been exhibited include the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University and Amnesty International's Art for Amnesty. Krimes' work was also recently featured in the Truth to Power exhibition coinciding with the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In the spring of 2017, Krimes' work will be on view at the Lucille M. and Richard F.X. Spagnuolo Musem at Georgetown University and the Hampshire College Museum of Art.