Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
Don Kimes divides his time between New York, Washington, DC and Italy. For more than three decades he has worked extensively in western New York State and Umbria - places he goes "to have consecutive thoughts in a world where it is increasingly difficult to have the chance to simply focus." In a 1996 catalogue essay for an exhibition of his work in Munich, he wrote about the relationship between nature and culture saying Italy affords the opportunity to think about culture, nature and the passage of time . . . In the end nature takes everything back. Seven years later a flood destroyed his home and studio. He subsequently wrote about the loss of nearly all of the works on paper he had ever done - 25 years worth - most of his photos, filing cabinets full of writing, and many other elements of a life’s work. It felt like the record of my existence had been erased. The house and furnishings seemed incidental by comparison. Nature took everything back. My work is now based on those destroyed images. Through them color, form and structure combine with nature, time, memory, loss and rebirth. But I think that might be what my work was always about.
As an artist, Don Kimes' work has been included in more than 50 solo and 100 group exhibitions internationally, including Denise Bibro, Frederieke Taylor, Claudia Carr, Kouros, Stephan Gang, Lucky Strike, NY Studio School, Prince Street, and Arsenal galleries, National Academy of Design, Ammo Artists Space, Brooklyn Museum of Art (all New York City), The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington Project for the Arts, National Academy of Sciences, Katzen Museum, Fondo del Sol Galleries, Hillyer Art Space, Sense Gallery Elizabeth Robert's Gallery, Constitution Hall (all Washington, DC), Baltimore Museum of Art, Burchfield Penney Museum (Buffalo), Rueda Museum (Madrid), Biennale Internazionale di Firenze (Florence, Italy), Rocca Paolina (Perugia), ExMoenia (Todi, Italy), Living Art (Milan), America Haus (Munich), Casa di Cultura (Villahermosa, Mexico), and many others.
He is currently the senior Full Professor of Studio Art at American University in Washington, DC, where he served as head of the studio art program for 19 of the past 30 years (and department chair for 11 years). He led this program in a successful campaign raising funds to design and build Washington's 130,000 square foot Katzen Arts Center and museum. In 2019 he and his wife Lois Jubeck established the ACI Artists and Writers residency program in a 500 year old complex in Corciano, Italy. Additionally, Kimes is Chair of the Board of Advisors for the DC and International edition of The New Art Examiner, an historic publication which currently has editorial staff in New York City, Washington, DC, Toronto, Detroit, Berlin, Rome, Paris, London, Southeast Asia and other locations internationally.
In 2018 he was named the inaugural Sonkin-Segal Endowed Chair in the Visual Arts at the the Chautauqua Institution, where he had served as Artistic Director in the visual Arts for more than three decades (the first endowed artistic director position in the 144 year history of that venerable institution). A 2016 Scholar in Residence in the Art and Philosophy seminar at the American Academy in Rome, Kimes has received awards to be Artist in Residence at SACI in Florence, Italy; to live and work on the Pacific island of Kauai; to spend a year painting near Todi, Italy; a US Department of the Interior award to be artist in residence at Yellowstone; a grant from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes to work in southern Mexico; Eisenhower Foundation support to be a United States Visual Arts representative to the Jurmala Cultural Exchange in the Soviet Union; and studio residency awards from the Millay Foundation; the Assensore di Cultura in Corciano, Italy; the Accademia di Belli Arti in Perugia, and many others. In 2001 he was a finalist for the position of Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kimes has been a guest artist at schools and universities throughout the United States, including Dartmouth, Bard, Carnegie-Mellon, UC Davis, Parsons, Syracuse University, Cleveland Institute of Art, Harvard, Cooper Union, University of Pennsylvania and many others, as well as academies and universities in Rome, Umbria, Florence, Mexico, Germany and Latvia. He and his wife, Lois Jubeck, built Chautauqua into one of the most respected summer art programs in America (VACI now includes the Chautauqua School of Art, eight galleries in the Fowler-Kellogg and Strohl Art Centers, and the Chautauqua Visual Arts Lecture series). Previously he taught for ten years at the New York Studio School in Greenwich Village, where he also served as Program Director for six years.
Kimes' curatorial practice is extensive, having organized dozens of major exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally over the past 30+ years. As an educator and cultural builder he is in his fourth decade as a practicing artist who also teaches: more than 5,000 art students have worked with him directly, and many thousands more indirectly, in the programs he has built and led in New York, Washington, DC and Italy.