PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2021

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BIRTH OF AN ART STAR I n the town of Thibodaux, Louisiana, sugar cane was once king, the remains of plantations still exist, and the battle between the North and South does not feel like a resounding victory for many of its Black residents, the descendants of former slaves. This hamlet would seem an unlikely place for an artist who is the next big thing to emerge from. Yet, this is Jammie Holmes' hometown. The painter, now based in Dallas, was one of the darlings of this fall's New York Armory Show A CONVERSATION WITH JAMMIE HOLMES having visited a museum or taking an art class or even holding a paintbrush, to launching a museum-collected career as painter — in less than five years. He also generated international headlines last summer for his moving text-based project, Everything Hurts, when banners were flown in the skies of five cities across America as both a memorial and a protest to the murder of George Floyd. I had wanted to interview Holmes at that time, when his moving aerial piece was the talk of the country and featured in The New York Times but, in the media blitz, was not able to make contact. This summer, when an opportunity arose to meet Jammie Holmes and cover his upcoming show in Dallas, my response flew back in 10 seconds: "Yes — where and when?" A studio visit was arranged, timed to his showing at the inaugural exhibition for the Green Family Art Foundation in the Dallas Design District. Holmes' work is in good company in this prescient group show curated by 27-year old London-based art historian Aindrea Emelife. Entitled "Black Bodies, White Spaces: Invisibility & Hypervisibility," the exhibit features Holmes' layered, activist painting The Illusion, 2021, alongside works spanning generations by artists including Amy Sherald, First Lady Michelle Obama's official portrait painter; David Hammons; Amaoko Boafo; Barkley L. Hendricks; Texas- based Deborah Roberts; Mickalene Thomas; Robert H. Colescott; and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe. On the appointed morning, I found the artist's studio in a tidy row of Design District businesses. He'd thoughtfully saved a parking place for me in this busy commercial area, demarcated by a road cone, next to his new G Wagon — one of the few signs of his art-world success. A camera announced my arrival, and the artist bounded out to greet me, his neatly pressed but paint-spattered attire a giveaway to his profession. At the front of his studio, I met his pre-teen sons, both immersed in a virtual-reality game and clearly enjoying hanging out with their dad. Making our way through several anterooms, we entered an ample main studio with soaring ceilings. when his canvas was snapped up by a museum in China for a hefty mid- five-figure fee, plucked from the booth of Marianne Boesky Gallery — home to major figures in contemporary art such as Frank Stella, Sanford Biggers, Donald Moffett, Ghada Amer — who showed Holmes in collaboration with the artist's primary dealer, Library Street Collective of Detroit. Even more improbable is how Jammie Holmes, a 37-year-old single dad who not long ago worked as an industrial foreman, went from never FROM SMALL-TOWN LOUISIANA TO THE DMA, MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH, AND ARMORY SHOW, MEET ONE OF AMERICA'S GREAT RISING PAINTERS. By Catherine D. Anspon. Portrait Lauren Withrow. Jammie Holmes (Continued) 110

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