Jesse Krimes is a Philadelphia-based artist and curator whose work explores how contemporary media shapes or reinforces societal mechanisms of power and control, with a particular focus on criminal and racial justice. While serving a six-year prison sentence, he produced and smuggled out numerous bodies of work, established prison art programs, and formed artist collectives. After his release in 2014, he co-founded Right of Return USA, the first national fellowship dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists. Krimes’ work has been exhibited at venues including Palais de Tokyo, MoMA PS1, Philadelphia Museum of Art, International Red Cross Museum, Zimmerli Museum, and Aperture Gallery. He has received public commissions from Amnesty International, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and Eastern State Penitentiary. His curatorial practice is focused on elevating other system-impacted artists, and he also successfully led a class-action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for charging formerly incarcerated people predatory fees after their release from federal prison. Krimes was awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Art for Justice Fund, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Independence Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Captiva. His work is a part of the Agnes Gund Collection and he is represented by Malin Gallery in New York.
Photo: Joe Frantz
Mass Incarceration Quilt
Jesse Krimes is a Philadelphia-based artist and curator whose work explores how contemporary media shapes or reinforces societal mechanisms of power and control, with a particular focus on criminal and racial justice.Artist Bio
The Mass Incarceration Quilt Series focuses on rendering visible people and perspectives hidden by the criminal legal system. Using participatory art practices that traverse both prison bars and the urban and rural divide, the series will represent the national scale of incarceration through an accumulation of individuated quilt squares and larger textiles. The works will integrate old clothing collected from directly impacted people and their families, invoking the body and presence of those millions who have been “disappeared” by the criminal punishment system.