Jammie Holmes: Make the Revolution Irresistible is Jammie Holmes’s (b. 1984) first solo exhibition in a museum. Working closely with the artist, this survey is organized by curator María Elena Ortiz.
Holmes creates captivating paintings that show the visual and conceptual significance of the Black figure. Challenging stereotypes, Holmes explores notions of masculinity, mourning, childhood, and race. His works are filled with emotion and painterly gestures; his figures are often depicted in vulnerable situations or simply engaging in moments of contemplation. Rooted in the lived experiences of Black communities in the United States, Holmes is part of a continuum of painters that explore the human figure in current social and political conditions.
Highlighting Southern histories and contemporary realities, the exhibition includes approximately 15 paintings ranging from early to recent works, showcasing the breadth of Holmes’s signature approach toward painting. An early work that references his hometown of Thibodaux, Louisiana, BOX FAN HEROES, 2019, is a vignette of Holmes's Southern upbringing that garnered national attention. The exhibition features striking paintings and deeply personal works; Blame the Man, 2021, captures a spiritual moment that alludes to how groups form bonds for resistance, while one of Holmes’s most recent works, Lefty, 2023, is a composition honoring veterans and the 1960s civil rights movement. Collectively, these works represent Holmes's community—the lens through which the artist explores this nation's history and invokes connections to essential themes of human existence.
Inspired by the culture of his hometown, Jammie Holmes's figurative and expressive paintings elevate common events in everyday life such as death, grief, faith, and family, into scenes of conviction and compassion. He garnered national attention in 2020 for a public artwork in which he hired planes in Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York to display banners with the last words of George Floyd, killed by police days before in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with contributions by exhibition curator María Elena Ortiz, Dr. Lauren Cross, Emory Douglas, and the artist.