About the Exhibition
Kelly Kristin Jones: Rib of Disaster
Elevate at 21c Chicago: September 1 – November 30, 2022
Kelly Kristin Jones’s photo-based interventions and counter monuments unsettle well-worn imperial attributes to consider alternative vocabularies. Time-based, collaborative and still works operate by blocking prevailing “master” narratives. Each action embraces the efforts to remove, reinterpret, and restore landscape. Addressing the slipperiness of both medium and myth, photographic interruptions highlight problematic relationships around public space and memory.
Please join us for the opening reception of Kelly Kristin Jones: Rib of disaster on September 1 from 6:00-7:30pm. The artist will be present and will speak about the work at 6:30pm in Gallery 3.
About the exhibition
Reflecting on the role that white women have in upholding and promoting white supremacy, Kelly Kristin Jones uses the photograph to create space for alternative narratives. Drawing on various sites: the domestic, the monument, and the media, to explore ways that white women subconsciously uphold the aesthetics of white dominance and spatialize their supremacy.
In her Dodging Tool series, Jones explores the process by which white women have worked to memorialize white supremacy through funding public monuments. Each black and white photograph features a blank, white geometric form, which as it covers also suggests the underlying whiteness that these monuments seek to uphold. The white form, reminiscent of a dodging tool, speaks to the photography’s role to image and distribute flows of white power.
Acknowledging the violence of the archive, Jones has collected hundreds of found photos of white women posing with monuments. White Women and Monuments demonstrates one of the empire’s most powerful weapons, photography, (literally) frames this colonialist project.
For Plinths for the People, an ongoing project, Jones invites the public to ascend to the top of an empty wooden plinth modeled after some of the historical public monuments in Chicago. White women have long served the white patriarchy with a relentless boosting of historical monuments across the country – here, a plinth for a new story to be held is offered.
As the figurative gatekeeper to a “traditional” and all-American family life, white women have long used a proximity to power to forcefully affect how Others “take up” and navigate space. From slave owners to NOW, white women have routinely weaponized our dual status in ways both subtle and crude.
Jones repurposes these objects and images and presses for an acknowledgement of the long history of subversion, appropriation and denial that white women, like the artist, uphold. Using found materials, staging illegal interventions, and building a new kind of archive, she’s pointing to the ways white women continue to serve the patriarchy.
Kelly Kristin Jones was born and raised on the westside of Chicago. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Post-MFA Fellowship from the University of Georgia. Jones is the recipient of a number of awards and fellowships including a 2021 Illinois Arts Council Agency Grant, a 2019 Chicago Artists Coalition HATCH residency, LATITUDE residency, and Luminarts Cultural Foundation Project Grant. Her project, Plinths for the People, was featured in the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Elevate at 21c presents temporary exhibitions of works by artists living and working in the communities surrounding each 21c Museum Hotel. Elevate provides hotel guests and visitors with unique access to the work of notable regional artists, while featuring their work in the context of 21c’s contemporary art space.