Two early events profoundly inform the content of Kim Jones’s work. Born in 1944, he was diagnosed with Perthes, a polio-like illness in 1951. He spent three years confined in a hospital and a wheelchair. To combat the boredom, he began to draw intensively. The War Drawings he made were inspired by the war games he played as a child and represented battlefields in which Xs and dots attacked each other. These drawings took on an entirely different layer of meaning after Jones served from 1967-68 in the Vietnam War.

The Box Gallery will exhibit Rat Ball (2), a direct reference to Jones’s combat experiences. Both his early illness and Marine service reverberate through his work.

In the mid 1970s, Jones developed his alter ego, Mudman. During the 1980s and 90s, Jones covered himself in mud and appeared in galleries and city streets wearing a construction on his back made out of sticks, pieces of cheesecloth and foam rubber. Appearing as this walking sculpture in 1976, Jones walked the entire 18-mile length of Wilshire Boulevard, from Wilshire One to the Palisades Bluffs. Mudman made the 12-hour walk twice, once during the day and once at night. Though unnerving, the sculpture’s presence is benign, responsive to any passersby who care to interact.

In our first solo exhibition of Kim Jones, we will screen a video of a similar walk he made in San Francisco in 1979.

Jones preserved his Mudman and other one-time performances in photographs. Beginning around 2000, Jones began to incorporate the photos as more than just documentation. He has continued to draw and paint on these prints, using archival materials to create autonomous works. Photographic pieces are connected to the rest of his work by association. These non-narrative drawings often combine fantastic figures, portraits of Mudman, and elements of the War Drawings. Because Jones returns periodically to the drawings, he often notes the span of their development, culminating in the date of full completion. Erasing, changing and transmuting forms and figures are typical of his drawing practice, as is the horror vacui.

Jones’s solo exhibitions include Bridget Donahue Gallery, NYC (2020); Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium (2018); The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (2016); the Venice Biennale (2013), Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (2007) and many other galleries and institutions. He has exhibited at, among other venues, The Drawing Center, NYC (2021); Linda Pace Foundation Collection, San Antonio, TX(2003); the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. (2019); Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athens, Greece (2017); Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO (2017); Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, LA (2015). Jones’s work is included in the collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, NY; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; among others. In 2009, he was awarded the United States Artists Award; in 2015, an Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant. Other awards include the John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment of the Arts Grant, and a Rome Prize Fellowship. Kim Jones lives and works in New York City.