Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC
Don Kimes divides his time between Italy, New York and Washington, DC. 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 most of his work, of 25 years years of his work: paintings, drawings, most of his photos, filing cabinets full of writing, and many other elements of his 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.
Kimes' work has been included in more than 150 exhibitions internationally, including Biennale Internazionale di Firenze (Florence, Italy); Global Art Fair (Singapore); Rueda Museum (Madrid); Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum (New York); Burchfield-Penney Museum (Buffalo); ExMoenia (Todi, Italy); Living Art (Milan); America Haus (Munich); Casa di Cultura (Villahermosa, Mexico); Rocca Paolina (Perugia, Italy); AU Katzen Museum (Washington, DC); Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); National Academy of Design (New York); Denise Bibro, Boom Contemporary, Frederieke Taylor, Claudia Carr, Kouros, Stephan Gang, Lucky Strike, NY Studio School, Prince Street, and Arsenal galleries, Ammo Artists Space (all New York City); Washington Project for the Arts, Fondo del Sol Galleries, Hillyer Art Space, Sense Gallery, Elizabeth Robert's Gallery, Constitution Hall (all Washington, DC), and many others.
He has received awards to be Scholar in Residence in the Art and Philosophy seminar at the American Academy in Rome; 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, Italy, and many others. In 2001 he was a finalist for the position of Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. 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 the Institution's first Artistic Director in the Visual Arts for more than three decades. During his tenure there he and his wife, Lois Jubeck, built Chautauqua into one of the most respected summer art programs in America (including the Chautauqua School of Art, establishing and building the Fowler-Kellogg and Strohl Art Centers, and expanding 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.
In 2019 Kimes and his wife, Lois Jubeck, established the ACI International Artists, Writers and Scholars Residency program in a 500 year old complex in Corciano, Italy. He continues to serve as Artistic Director there. He is also the Senior Professor in the Visual Arts at American University in Washington, DC, where he served as head of the studio art program for 19 of the past 35 years (and department chair for 11 years). He conceived of and then led this program in a successful campaign raising funds to design and build Washington's 130,000 square foot Katzen Arts Center and museum. Additionally, Kimes is Board Chair for Art Lantern/New Art Examiner which currently has editorial staff in New York City, DC, Toronto, Detroit, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Singapore, Hong Kong and other locations internationally.
Kimes has been a guest artist at schools and universities throughout the United States, including Bard, Carnegie-Mellon, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cooper Union, Dartmouth, UC Davis, Harvard, Parsons, University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, and many others, as well as academies and universities in Rome, Umbria, Florence, Mexico, Germany and Latvia.
His curatorial practice is extensive, having organized dozens of exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally over the past 30+ years. As an artist, an educator/mentor, 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, Rome and Umbria.