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Mary Temple: Witness

John Jay College President's Gallery
899 Tenth Avenue
Upper West Side
April 25 - May 23, 2012
Reception: Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 - 7:30 PM

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is proud to present Mary Temple: Witness on view from April 25-May 23, 2012, in the President’s Gallery on the sixth floor of 899 Tenth Avenue, NYC. The opening reception, co-sponsored by the Department of Art & Music and the Office of the President, will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, from 5:30­­–7:30PM.

Temple’s drawings are an ongoing project focusing on current events. Every day for the past five years, Temple has combed the Internet and various media venues for a news event related to a world leader. She then hand-draws the world leader’s likeness along with an accompanying caption and date, also taken from the Internet.

The work, which is part of her continuing series Currency, has the format of a calendar, divided in monthly grids. The project started on September 24, 2007, when Temple read an online news story concerning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controver­sial visit to Columbia University and became compelled to draw his portrait. As the series evolved, she began positioning the portraits according to her subjective feelings about the events. How high or low the portrait appears in the monthly grid is a reflection of Temple’s optimism or pessimism regarding the news event and the world leader; the more promising she perceives the future to be, the higher the portrait is placed. The series chronicles her outlook over time and, more universally, creates a visually compelling graphic schema by which to understand an overwhelming, often contradictory stream of media headlines. Temple positions herself as a witness to current events but also incorporates her personal interpretation of the issues related to power relations by the way she positions her subjects in the grid; as such, her world news diary crosses a fine line between fiction and reality.

Mary Temple was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and has lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY, for the past fifteen years. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and abroad. Recent solo efforts include projects at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Rice Gallery, Houston; and Mixed Greens Gallery, New York. Group show venues include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Drawing Center, New York; Western Bridge, Seattle; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; and the Sculpture Center, Queens, among many others. Temple is a recent recipient of the Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship, the Basil H. Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting, and a 2010 Fellowship in Painting from New York Foundation for the Arts. Her drawing project Currency, which chronicles world politics on a daily basis, is now also on view at SITE Santa Fe and at the DePaul Museum in Chicago.

The President’s Gallery is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00AM-5:00PM. For more information, or to request high-resolution images, contact the Department of Art & Music at 212.237.8329 or email [email protected]

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit
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