Quotations from Jimmy DeSana


Quotations from Jimmy DeSana is a small book of poems and images created by the artist to accompany his exhibition at Pat Hearn Gallery in 1988. This show was notable for introducing the artist’s work with photographic abstraction—a style that would come to define his final body of work, Salvation.

The 18 poems included in this publication share some of the themes of Salvation, touching on loss and the unknown, but they are imbued with a metaphysical, aphoristic, and at times absurdist quality that allows for a more expansive range of emotions. Although DeSana’s poems are labeled as quotations—and are bookended by quotes from St. Augustine, Nietzsche, and Picasso—the elliptical and open-ended structure of the works give them an air of universality, offering a nuanced and atmospheric reading of the artist’s interior and exterior worlds. Like the photographs in the exhibition that they accompanied, three of which are reproduced in the book, Quotations from Jimmy DeSana resists a clear reading of representation, offering an abstracted and fragmented version of self in its place. As DeSana states in the publication’s opening work, “a part of my soul, is the same as the whole.”

Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990) grew up in Atlanta, GA, and received his bachelor’s degree from the Georgia State University in 1972 before relocating to New York’s East Village in the early 1970s. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include The Sodomite Invasion: Experimentation, Politics and Sexuality in the work of Jimmy DeSana and Marlon T. Riggs, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, Canada, 2020, and Remainders, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY, 2016. DeSana’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others. A major retrospective of DeSana’s work was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in early 2023, accompanied by a catalogue co-published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books.

Primary Information, 2024
Softcover, 12pp 
133 x 95mm 

You may also like