Indianapolis and Chicago-based artist, Samuel Levi Jones is making his major museum debut at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
with Samuel Levi Jones: Left of Center, open from Mar. 15 through Sept. 1, 2019.
In this thought provoking exhibition Jones provides visual commentary on the oppressive nature of American power structures, particularly those that substantiate our education system, the criminal justice system and healthcare system, as well as the American historical narrative. Jones does this by deconstructing materials such as encyclopedias, law textbooks, medical textbooks and football equipment and making them into abstract paintings and sculptures.
His work is inspired by questions of authority, representation and recorded history. Jones rearranges the deconstructed books into grid-like compositions that are meant to expose their flaws and question their truth. Jones explains that he is ultimately thinking about information that is selectively left out.
This is a very important time for Newfields to present this show, as art institutions across the nation are finally taking an honest look at how traditional museum practices have been historically discriminatory. It is imperative that Jones exhibition takes place right here and right now, as Newfields is a prominent museum rapidly transforming its culture from the inside out, said curators Dr. Kelli Morgan and Bryn Jackson. As curators of color who are also scholars of critical race theory and performance, were very excited about the exhibition because Jones quite literally peels back the layers of institutional racism in our society. With purposeful examination, his beautiful patch-worked canvases completely restructure the tomes that uphold race-based oppression. His ability to deconstruct and transform the antiquated into new visual and textual paradigms reframes the relationships between freedom and oppression, power and vulnerability, as well as equality and exclusion.
Left of Center strives to communicate that Newfields continues to be a museum actively engaging with its local art communities and continues to host important conversations. As guests spend time in the gallery they will be confronted with Jones process and perspective through a constellation of references to popular culture, current events and personal experiences. Each work reveals a conceptual richness to those who are willing to follow in Jones footsteps, revealing the many layers of meaning that are embedded within the materials.
Jones was born in Marion, Indiana and now lives and works between Chicago, Illinois, and Indianapolis. His work is also currently on view in Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, Smart Museum of Art, Illinois; We the People, Albright Knox Art Gallery, New York; Infinite Blue, Brooklyn Museum, New York and Personal to Political, Northeastern University, Massachusetts. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include Let us Grow at Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris in May 2019, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects in June 2019, and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York in September 2019. Jones most notable exhibitions include After Fred Wilson at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indiana; and Unbound at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. His work can be found in museum and public collections such as the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Rubell Family Collection, Florida; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 2014, Jones was the recipient of the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, an annual award whose past recipients include prominent artists such as Leslie Hewitt, Glenn Ligon and Lorna Simpson.