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Jay Simple’s Exhibition to Challenge Construction of the American Dream

On September 14th, TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image will present a solo exhibition by visual artist Jay Simple. The exhibition, titled Where the Young Bols Rumble, calls into question the construction of the American Dream and who it was intended to benefit.

Simple’s artwork functions as a provocation and dismantling of the institutional structures purposefully designed to subjugate Black people since they arrived in this country. Historical amnesia, gentrification, capitalism, and the art establishment are some of the primary subjects he takes on.


Simple complicates his critique by defying conventional approaches to displaying photographs in a gallery. He collages visual artifacts onto sheets of weathered metal, protest signs, astronaut helmets, and grandfather clocks adorned with wings to resemble rocket ships. Allusions to time and space abound, signaling to the viewer that life out there is no better than what we have here.

The exhibition also includes a film by Chicago-based artist and curator Amir George. George uses art to create spiritual stories that juxtapose sound and image into a non-linear perceptual experience, resulting in fragmented vignettes about the hidden background of the subjects he explores.

In addition to the exhibition, TILT will host a public program on October 5th with George, who will be in conversation with James Britt, Curator of Exhibitions & Programs at TILT, about his contribution to the exhibition and how Black people have visually traveled through space and time throughout their complex existence on earth.

Simple’s exhibition is a timely and important contribution to the ongoing conversation about race and justice in America. It is a must-see for anyone who wants to understand the complex realities of Black life in the United States.

About the Artist
Jay Simple is a visual artist and scholar. He is currently the Executive Director of The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2020, Simple founded and directed the Photographer’s Greenbook, an online resource dedicated to providing resources for photographers from underrepresented groups. Simple received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design.

About TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image supports contemporary photographers and image makers of every level by fostering a space to learn, network, create, and engage in socially conscious dialogue through our free exhibitions and programs, fine art printing, artist residencies, youth education, and adult classes.

(Photos contributed by TILT)

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Vinegar Hill Magazine is a space that is designed to support and project a more inclusive social narrative, to promote entrepreneurship, and to be a beacon for art, culture, and politics in Central Virginia.


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