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Don Kimes Professor Department of Art

MFA City University of New York, Brooklyn College

Dividing time between the US and Italy, Kimes' work has been presented in over 150 exhibits including Denise Bibro, Frederieke Taylor, Claudia Carr, Kouros, Lucky Strike, Arsenal, National Academy, Ammo Artists Space, Brooklyn Museum (all NYC), Corcoran, WPA, National Acad. Sciences, Fondo del Sol, Hillyer, Elizabeth Roberts (all DC), Dorazio (Italy), Rueda Museum (Spain), America House (Germany) and many others internationally. As head of Studio Art for 17 of the past 26 years, and Dept. Chair from 1990-2001, he expanded the national reputation of our MFA program, founded our Art in Italy programs, initiated the proposal to build major art facilities on Massachusetts Avenue, and led the Department in a campaign which funded and built our 130,000 square foot Katzen Arts Center. Currently a member of the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, Kimes has been a finalist for the position of Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and has served as Artistic Director in the Visual Arts at the renowned Chautauqua Institution since 1986. Kimes previously was Program Director/faculty at the Studio School in New York City, and has been a guest artist in programs including Tyler, Parsons, CMU, Dartmouth, Cooper, Bard, Pratt, Syracuse, schools from Rome and Florence to Munich, Latvia, Mexico and many others. Among the artists Kimes worked with as a young artist are Gretna Campbell, Nicholas Carone, Elaine de Kooning, Guston, Krasner, Mercedes Matter, Alice Neel, Pearlstein, Thiebaud, Esteban Vicente and others.
See Also
Department of Art
Video from Chautaqua: Interruption, Transformation, and the Creative Art
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • Time Walls “Heavy Metal: New Works by Don Kimes”, essay by Barbara Rose
  • NY Arts Magazine “Umbria Mystica and the New Rennaissance of Living Art in Italy”, by Lori Nozick
  • Washingtonian Magazine, “Still a Scene: Dupont, Penn Quarter, and Beyond” April, 2008
  • Washington Post, Entertainment, The Scene Included feature color reproduction of Kimes’ work at Hillyer Art Space, April, 2008
  • Where Magazine, review by Jean Lawler Cohen, included color reproduction of Kimes’ work. April, 2008.
  • Jamestown Post Journal, “Chautauqua Book”, Article by Don Kimes on the 3.5 million dollar renovation of the Strohl Art Center and the 2008 visual arts program at Chautauqua Institution, June 20, 2008
  • Hill Rag “Art and the City”, Jason Yen April, 2008
  • Washington Post, “Moving Heaven and Earth Images" review by Hank Burchard
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in American Art

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • American University Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Development
  • Medici Medal, Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy
  • US Department of the Interior award to be Artist in Residence at Yellowstone National Park
  • Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Pelicer Conference and Exhibition, Villahermosa, Mexico
  • Faculty Honor Award, Graduate Student Council, American University
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony artist residency
  • Amerika Haus, selected for solo exhibition, Munich, Germany
  • Eisenhower Foundation and USIA support to be US Visual Arts Representative to Cultural/Political Exchange in the Soviet Union, 1986 

See CV for full list.

Work In Progress

  • Currently working on “paintings” incorporating paint, digital media, printmaking techniques, collage, and experimental media. The work is based on fragments salvaged after a flood in 2003 which destroyed much of Kimes’ life’s work. His paintings are based on the experience of nature, time, memory, loss and rebirth.
  • Currently working with Luis Grachos, Director Albright Knox Museum, and Julian Zugazagoitia (Director Museo del Barrio, NYC) on ‘Cuban Connections: Wilfredo Lam through Ana Mendietta’ exhibition.
  • Currently working with Lee Tribe, on exhibition of African and Aboriginal Sculpture.
  • Currently working with Denise Bibro (Denise Bibro Gallery, NYC) on exhibition and catalogue entitled 100 Years of the Visual Arts at the Chautauqua Institution: From Charles Burchfield and Franz Kline to Barbara Rose and Robert Storr


Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Studio Art Centers International, Distinguished Artist in Residence, Florence, Italy 2008
  • Goya Girl Press, selected for award to produce oversize prints, Baltimore, MD, 2000 and 1999
  • Commune di Perugia, Artists at the Manicomium (others in residence: Cecily Brown, Randall Stoltzfus), 1996
  • Commune di Perugia, 7’ x 7’ steel, cement and wood piece selected for architect Aldo Rossi building, Perugia Italy
  • Camerata di Todi Residency (one year) supported by American University Mellon Fund, 1994/95

Research Interests

Kimes is a painter who believes in a strong conceptual/ historical grounding, but who also believes that the act of making art ultimately supersedes the act of theorizing about it. His abstract works incorporate wide ranging traditional and experimental media. He divides his time between Washington, upstate New York, and Italy, where he goes for “the opportunity to have consecutive thoughts in a world where it is increasingly difficult to have the chance to simply focus”.

Professional Presentations

  • Carnegie Mellon University, visiting critic and invited speaker ‘Art in the Public Realm’
  • Syracuse University, visiting critic/guest speaker
  • Tyler School of Art, Temple University, guest speaker
  • Vassar College, visiting critic/guest speaker
  • Dartmouth College, visiting critic/guest speaker
  • Bard College, visiting critic/guest speaker
  • International School of Art in Umbria, Italy, visiting critic/guest speaker
  • Universidad Juarez Autonoma, Mexico, visiting artist/guest speaker
  • Riga Academy of Art, Latvia, visiting artist/guest speaker
  • Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci, Italy, visiting artist/guest speaker
  • and many others

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Studio artist; contemporary, abstract, and modern art; censorship of art; art education; painting; Italian culture and art, creativity  

Additional Information

Don Kimes is a professor of studio art and artistic director in the visual arts at the Chautauqua Institution.  As chair of AU’s  Department of Art  for 11 years and head of studio art for 15 years, he was instrumental in expanding the reputation of the university’s Fine Arts program, bringing many nationally recognized artists to teach in Washington.  Represented by Denise Bibro Fine Art in New York City, his work has been in exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of American Art; Brooklyn Museum of Art; National Academy of Sciences; Baltimore Museum of Art; Rocca Paolina (Italy); Living Art (Milan); America Haus (Munich); Casa di Cultura (Mexico); National Academy of Design; Ammo Artists Space; Frederiecke Taylor; Stephan Gang; Claudia Carr; Kouros; Prince Street; Arsenal; and Lucky Strike galleries; Ammo Artists Space; Washington Project for the Arts; Montpelier Galleries; Constitution Hall; and others.  Kimes has received numerous honors. He received Medici Medals at the 2001 and 2003 Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art.  He has received awards to live and work on the island of Kauai (2002); a grant to spend a year painting near Todi, Italy; a U.S. Department of the Interior award to be artist in residence at Yellowstone; a grant from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes to work in southern Mexico; Eisenhower Foundation and Chautauqua Institution support to be a U.S. visual arts representative in the 1986 Jurmala Cultural Exchange in the Soviet Union; and studio residency awards from the Millay Foundation and the Assensore di Cultura in Corciano, Italy. He has been a guest artist at the International School of Art in Umbria, the Universidad Juarez Autonoma in Mexico, Riga Academy of Art in Latvia, Harvard, Dartmouth, Syracuse, Georgetown, George Mason, Cleveland Institute of Art, Parsons, Maryland College of Art, Cooper Union, and others.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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