Recently, I publicly lamented my inability to navigate current exhibits in the Chelsea Gallery District. With the added precautions needed when going out during the Covid Life, and the fact that my former gallery-hopping companion has relocated to the west coast, I am too distracted and overwhelmed with minutiae to research which new exhibits will appeal to my unique visual aesthetic. It is cause for great joy then that I have discovered New York Gallery Tours — which does the hard work of figuring out where to go for you! Founded in 2002 by Rafael Risemberg — a former college professor with a Ph.D. in arts education — New York Gallery Tours hosts meticulously-curated two-hour adventures in Contemporary Art featuring the very best of what’s happening at the Chelsea Galleries (and other arts neighborhoods as well). Tour groups are kept super small (one to five people) so that there’s room to socially distance and more time for Rafael to explain the art, and encourage lively conversation. On a recent Saturday afternoon, my art-loving neighbors Leslie and Kat and I met up for a tour with Rafael, and we were able to hit up nine different galleries across ten blocks, because that is how we roll.
Lead by Rafael, New York Gallery Tours opens your mind to the discovery and appreciation of art beyond the familiar mediums of painting and sculpture. I feel like I was introduced to an amazing selection of the most diverse art I’ve seen in years, which I will now share with. Let’s get to it!
Jesse Krimes: American Rendition
515 West 29th Street
Incarcerated for six years, Jesse Krimes creates artwork that frequently addresses the personal, communal and national level impacts of mass incarceration and the ways in which media and on-line representations of individual and group identities reinforce societal structures related to punishment and confinement. American Rendition features large-scale textile works from two different series: The Elegy Quilts (seen above and below) were constructed using fragments of personal clothing, textiles and other ephemera collected from currently and formerly incarcerated people.
These quilts depict domestic scenes inspired by the subjects’ memories of their homes or other domestic spaces that they felt evoked the concept of home. Solitary, empty chairs are prominently featured, powerfully evoking the 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. According to Jesse, “The furniture and interiors are made mostly of old clothing and serve as symbolic stand-ins for the body that yearns to return.”
Read more about this exhibit and the art of Jesse Krimes at This Link.
Post Continues, With More Photos, After The Jump!