On View: April 7th – August 21, 2022
Jesse Krimes, [Right] Wolf Point, 2021, Antique quilt, used clothing collected from incarcerated people, assorted textiles, 86 x 65 in. [Left] Phoenix, 2020
Antique quilt, used clothing collected from incarcerated people, assorted textiles, 96 x 62 in. Collection of David and Pamela Hornik, courtesy of the artist and Malin Gallery, New York. Photo: Impart Photography.
Featured in the ICA Lounge are Jesse Krimes’ large-scale quilts, Phoenix, 2020, and Wolf Point, 2021, from his Elegy Quilts series. The Elegy Quilts were constructed using fragments of personal clothing, textiles, and other ephemera collected from currently and formerly incarcerated people. These quilts depict scenes inspired by the subjects’ memories of their past residences or other domestic spaces that they felt evoked the concept of “home.” Solitary, empty chairs are prominently featured, evoking the powerful yet disastrous effects of COVID in prisons and jails, and the absence of Americans who have effectively “disappeared” from their families and communities into the criminal justice and penal systems.
The artist says of these works, “The furniture and interiors are made mostly of old clothing and serve as symbolic stand-ins for the body that yearns to return.” Krimes believes that the carceral system of the U.S. is designed to “punish, obscure and erase” the identities of the individuals it claims. Such effacement of the personal identities of the incarcerated serves to make the often indiscriminate brutality of the system invisible or more tolerable to society at large.
Incarcerated for six years, Jesse Krimes creates artwork that frequently addresses the personal, communal, and national levels of mass incarceration and how media and online representations of individual and group identities undergird societal structures related to punishment and confinement. Phoenix was the first work that inspired the rest of the Elegy Quilts series and was included in Jesse Krimes’ first exhibition American Rendition of the Elegy Quilts from 2020, at Malin Gallery, New York.
Jesse Krimes (b. 1982, Lancaster, PA) is a Philadelphia-based artist and curator. He is the co-founder of Right of Return, USA, the first national fellowship dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists. Krimes’ work has been exhibited at venues including the Palais de Tokyo, The International Red Cross Museum, and the Aperture Foundation. His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is the recipient of multiple awards and fellowships from institutions including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Independence Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the Captiva Residency, Creative Capital, and the Art for Justice Fund. Krimes’ work is included in the Agnes Gund Collection.
Krimes’ artworks have been cited in numerous publications, including Hyperallergic, The Wall Street Journal, Blouin, The Star Ledger, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, and The Financial Times.
Special thanks to David and Pamela Hornik and Malin Gallery, New York.