Watch: Samuel Levi Jones’s latest art installation at Edison School for the Arts, Indianapolis

Galerie Lelong & Co. SAMUEL LEVI JONES. 48 Portraits (Underexposed). Installed at Edison School for the Arts, IPS 47, Indianopolis. Organized by Arts for Learning, Indiana

Galerie Lelong & Co., New York, is pleased to share a short documentary on Samuel Levi Jones’s recent installation of 48 Portraits (Underexposed) at Edison School for the Arts, IPS 47, Indianopolis, Indiana. This was organized by Arts for Learning as part of their third space project.

Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Arts for Learning partnered with six Indianapolis metropolitan area public schools to temporarily disrupt the school environment through the installation of museum-quality works of art created by established local artists.

About the artwork 48 Portraits (Underexposed)

During his graduate study, the artist Samuel Levi Jones was introduced to Gerhard Richter’s 1971–72 installation 48 Portraits, a large grid of black and white portraits depicting prominent white central European and North American males who had contributed to society. In his research, Jones learned that the images were sourced from 1972 Encyclopedia Britannicas and Richter had been in search of homogeneity—the same size, tone, color, etc.

Jones created 48 Portraits (Underexposed) (2012) in response. The work seems to directly mirror Richter’s work at first glance, but repurposes this format in a new way. Jones’s portraits focus on 24 men and 24 women of color that are inkjet-printed on paper made from recycled 1972 encyclopedias—referencing the very source material Richter first used and publications the 48 individuals could have been a part of. Notable figures such as Bessie Smith, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marian Anderson, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes are among them.

As the first artwork where Jones began his adoption of books as material, 48 Portraits (Underexposed) marked a critical moment in his oeuvre, leading the artist to critically examine the information and knowledge we receive in his practice.

Click here to watch the documentary