During a career that spans over four decades, Kim Jones has created a singular and subjective body of work based on both extreme personal experience and a wide range of artistic influences. Commentary about his work often dwells on details of his biography, which include surviving a severe childhood illness and serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War. These facts certainly have a bearing on understanding aspects of his output, but Jones’s life story has a tendency to induce a viewer to presuppose meaning prior to direct acquaintance, a situation that can limit interpretation. The artist’s history, however, has clearly led to his thinking of himself as an outsider, and this estrangement has been played out throughout his career with an interrelated series of performances, sculptures, drawings, and writings that are defined by a range of elemental and expressionistic impulses.
The title of this exhibition, White Crow, refers to the extremely rare occurrence when a crow is born without any pigment in its plumage. This marks the bird as not only an outsider, but also, in folk mythology, as an omen of impending change. It should be noted that Jones thinks of White Crow, which includes some individual elements that Jones has worked on over a thirty-year period, as one continuous installation, echoing the importance of memory and the life he has lived in his practice as an artist.
In this exhibition, the crow and the rat (an animal that is featured in much of Jones’s work) appear repeatedly, connecting a series of indoor installations with what is one of the artist’s largest outdoor site-specific works to date. This installation, which was created during a ten-day residency at the Museum, involved the transformation of a grove of four small crab-apple trees in front of The Aldrich into a festooned and wrapped sculpture. Additionally, Jones has utilized the Museum’s camera obscura, a small room that looks out towards the grove of crab-apples, for an installation involving both sculpture and wall drawing. This includes the camera obscura’s projected image of the area around the trees, linking his intervention in the landscape with the indoor environment.