ArtWinter2019

Captive – Max King Cap


Artist Statement: The Captive series tackles the American Gulag industry and the scandal of false imprisonment. They appear to be abstractions but they are really a form of text painting; instead of letterforms or numbers, however, the paintings are an ocean of tally marks. Using one of the simplest counting systems, these markings of four verticals punctuated by a diagonal slash, I make a tabulation of the days lost by those who were falsely imprisoned. Using data from The Innocence Project, the Center for Wrongful Convictions, and the National Registry of Exonerations, I have collected the daily countdown of the falsely imprisoned. The series began with triptych of three men who were convicted of murder and spent 39 years in prison; 14,229 days based upon coercion, bias, and incompetence. Each painting is a crude diary of marking time, of hoping and losing hope, of standing still while the world carries on; punctuated by violence, bureaucratic indifference, and thwarted desire. From that beginning the series continues to grow. Unfortunately, the subject matter for these paintings is abundant—the list of wrongful convictions is tragically long.


Artist Bio: A former firefighter and public relations executive, Max King Cap is a visual artist from Chicago who now lives in Los Angeles. He also writes about art and specializes in underrepresented artists. His work has been seen in galleries and museums in Vienna, New York (One Planet Under a Groove), Stuttgart, Dallas, Brussels, Berlin and numerous other cities in Europe and the US. Alongside MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine, he co-edited The Racial Imaginary, a collection of essays regarding racial representation in the arts. Among several awards he is the recipient of Creative Capital and Artadia grants, and was most recently a finalist for the Andy Warhol Arts Writer Grant. His play in progress, Fifty Nine Inches, was recently presented in Houston. He earned his MFA from the University of Chicago and his doctorate from USC.

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The author: Mike Robbins