Averno by Kim Jones
12 October - 11 November, 2012
Opening Reception Fri. 12 October, 7-9pm
Pierogi is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by Kim Jones. Jones' work incorporates performance, sculpture, drawing, photography, and painting. He became known early on for his performance persona, ‘Mudman,’ and could be seen walking the streets of Los Angeles and Venice, CA during the 1970s, and then New York City and New York's subway system during the 1980s, always covered in mud, a nylon stocking stretched over his face, and wearing on his back a crudely constructed lattice-work structure of sticks, tape, and twine. Throughout this time he was also developing drawings and paintings on paper. His works on paper range from intricate graphite drawings involving ‘X’ and ‘O’ figures and erasure indicating movement of each force (referred to as ‘war drawings’), to works that incorporate photography, acrylic paint, ink line work, and collage, many of which have been made over a period of thirty years. Over the years Jones has developed a language of materials and marks: sticks, mud, twine, rats, and ‘X’ and ‘O’ symbols. ‘Mudman,’ and figures that resemble the performance persona, along with a cast of characters, inhabit his elegant and simultaneously grotesque drawings and paintings.
This exhibition will include recent drawings on paper and paintings on photographs of Jones’ own performances. The title, Averno, references the crater lake in Southern Italy considered by Ancient Romans to be the entrance point to the underworld, or hell.
“These hybrid drawings of human, nonhuman, and prosthetic imagery are about mobility and disability, and about boyhood fantasies merging with the actual experience of a veteran who has been in the hell of war. They are also about the pleasures of art. Oddly enough, it was Giambattista Tiepolo’s fluid works on paper, with their sprezzatura and dark narrative, that inspired him: the Averno drawings are also about the art of not seeming artful..” (Kim Levin, 2012)
“In them, a conflicted population of mudmen and painted ladies, combat ghosts and dandies, tough guys and cigar-smoking native Americans, Janus heads, sleepers, cross-dressers, rats and frogs are intertwined with images of entrails, veins, and tendrils in an ambiguous process of libidinal transformation. These harsh and delicate drawings are gorgeous and repellant, ludicrous and vulnerable. Spitting, drooling, and doing bizarre things to each other, these figures exist in a variety of highly un-cool crosshatched styles of drawing – so obsolete they are daring. They’re Felliniesque, satiric, sardonic – like a punk take on old master classics.” (Levin)
Kim Jones is a 2009 United States Artists Fellow. His work was recently included in Pacific Standard Time: Under the Big Black Sun, 1974-81 (the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, LA); Compass In Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection (the Museum of Modern Art, NYC), and the 17th Sydney Biennial, The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival In A Precarious Age. He has received fellowships and residencies from ArtPace (San Antonio, TX), the Sirius Art Center (Ireland), the American Academy in Rome and, the Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA). His work has been included in other notable exhibitions such as Collage: The Unmonumental Picture at the New Museum (NYC, 2008); the 52nd International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (2007); Disparities & Deformations: Our Grotesque, Site Santa Fe (2004), and; Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA and MAK, Vienna (1998). His work was recently the subject of a comprehensive traveling retrospective, Mudman: The Odyssey of Kim Jones.