previews

Jess, “A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me”: Salvages II, 1963/1972, oil on canvas with collage insert, 16 x 20".

Madison

“Jess: To and From the Printed Page”

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
227 State Street
August 5–September 23

San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street
March 18–June 10

Curated by Ingrid Schaffner

In 1944 a young GI assigned as a radiochemist to the Manhattan Project sent away for a limited edition of Finnegans Wake. So began Jess’s lifelong interest in the relationship between language and image. In the 1950s, the atomic-scientist-turned-artist, inspired by everything from Surrealism to ancient mythology, began creating a mind-bending body of work in which words and images become ideograms that border on the hallucinatory. Organized by Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia curator Ingrid Schaffner for Independent Curators International, this exhibition of some fifty works, primarily printed matter made between 1952 and 1993, boasts a catalogue prefaced by poet John Ashbery. Jess shows are few and far between, so this focused presentation is a must-see for those of us in the Jess cult. Travels to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI, Aug. 5–Sept. 23; and other venues.