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Rikers Quilt, 2020, Jesse Krimes © Jesse Krimes. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Dan Bradica.


Jesse Krimes: Rikers Quilt

Through July 15

Working across painting, textiles, sculpture, installation, and advocacy, Philadelphia-based artist Jesse Krimes draws upon his own experiences of incarceration and reentry into society to interrogate and critique the American criminal justice system. Produced in response to ongoing abuses at Rikers Island, New York City’s largest and most notorious jail, Rikers Quilt serves as a poignant metaphor for the underrecognized and continued mistreatment of people imprisoned in the United States.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

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Pay What You Wish admission on 1st Sunday of the month & every Friday night

About the Artist

Jesse Krimes is a Philadelphia based artist whose work explores how contemporary media shapes and reinforces societal mechanisms of power and control, with a particular focus on criminal and racial justice. Shortly after graduating from Millersville University, he was indicted by the U.S. government on drug charges. While serving a six-year prison sentence he produced and smuggled out numerous bodies of work, established prison art programs, and created artist collectives. After his release, he founded and currently serves as Executive Director of the Center for Art & Advocacy, the first and only national organization dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists.

His work has been exhibited at venues including MoMA PS1, Palais de Tokyo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, International Red Cross Museum, Zimmerli Museum, Newport Art Museum, and Aperture Gallery. His curatorial practice is focused on elevating other system impacted artists, and he also successfully led a class-action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for charging formerly incarcerated people predatory fees after their release from federal prison.

Krimes won an Emmy Award for his documentary “Art and Krimes by Krimes.” He was also awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Creative Capitol, Art for Justice Fund, Independence Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center. His work is in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Newport Art Museum, OZ Art NWA, Kadist Art Foundation, The Bunker Artspace, and the Agnes Gund Collection. He is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.

A photograph of Jesse Krimes

Jesse Krimes, 2023, portrait by Anthony Tahlier. Courtesy of the artist.


Katie Lee, Penn Medicine Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, and Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Curator of Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts

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