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Prisoner art, made from bedsheets and hair gel

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  March 21, 2014 09:47 AM

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Big projects happen little by little in prison- if you dig a tunnel, you need to bring the dirt into the yard one pocketful at a time. The same idea applies to a gargantuan mural created by former federal prisoner Jesse Krimes. In 2009 Krimes was sentenced to 70 months at a medium security prison in Butner, North Carolina after being caught with 140 grams of cocaine. During his prison stay, Krimes created "Apokaluptein:16389067," a mural made from contraband bedsheets, images from the New York Times, and prison-issue hair gel (Krimes used the hair gel to transpose the Times images onto the sheets, so that they appear reversed).

Krimes told the website Prison Photography that "Apokaluptein:16389067"- which combines the Greek word "apokalupsis," meaning "to reveal," with Krimes's Federal Bureau of Prisons identification number- is a "depiction of represented reality as it exists in its mediated form, within the fabric of the prison." The mural is made from 39 panels arranged in three rows: the top row is ethereal, made from images from the Travel section, and beneath it Krimes arranged transposed images from news coverage of natural disasters and manmade atrocities like Sandy Hook. Krimes shipped the panels home, one at a time, and only saw the assembled work after he was released from jail.

Grimes A.jpg

Grimes 1.jpg

Grimes 2.jpg

Grimes 3.jpg

Images by Sarah Kaufman.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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