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Great Relationship With the Blacks
We Have the Worst Laws
They Let You Do It
Chris Kienke

My new body of work is comprised of brightly colored, hand-lettered quotes from the President superimposed onto his first official White House portrait. Each is an intervention, using the President’s own words to subvert the portrait’s intended effect. These graphic interventions overwrite select quotes in sans serif lettering onto each portrait.


This project examines the President’s perspective as expressed through verified quotes about women, race, and patriotism inflected with privilege and nationalistic overtones. These Presidential perspectives influence current debates ranging from ideas about freedom and citizenship to how a society responds to gun violence. Ideas about patriotism, citizenship and freedom are represented by language that is itself reflective of class, race, and gender. In my view, these quotes “shape our beliefs about what American values are and who gets to share in those values.” This series responds to dialogues around social, political, historical and economic issues filtered through nationalistic and patriotic ideals and what I view as a demand for visual rendering.


Chris Kienke has been with Amos Eno Gallery since 2012 and his work has been exhibited in over 70 shows including recent solo exhibitions at Northwestern University (2018), the University of Kentucky (2016), the Art Center at National Central University in Taiwan (2015) and Fuchs Projects in New York City. Chris exhibited in the Florence Biennale in 2011, the Brussels Biennial in 2009 and was included in New American Paintings in September 2009. Kienke has been a fellow at Hospitalfield House in Scotland in 1998-1999 and at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003 and 2007.  His work is in permanent collections such as ABN Amro Bank in Dubai, Savannah College of Art and Design, Sharjah Art Museum (UAE) and the United Kingdom National Collection. Chris Kienke received his MFA from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale in 2000 and his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1994.


"They Let You Do It" (2020) Acrylic on Digital Print 24 x 16"

"Great Relationship with the Blacks" (2020) Acrylic on Digital Print 24 x 16"

"We Have the Worst Laws" (2020) Acrylic on Digital Print 24 x 16"

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