Jeremy Blake

United States 1971 - 2007

Installation, Digital Art, Animation

Jeremy Blake
Jeremy Blake
United States
April 25, 2017

Jeremy Blake was an American digital artist and painter, born in Oklahoma in 1971. The talented and promising artist committed suicide in New York City in 2007, only one week after his girlfriend ended her life. Their deaths stunned their friends, captivated the artistic world and fascinated the press, causing speculations and conspiracy theories.

The Witch's Cap, 2004 - 1, winchester times home music privacy help terms
Jeremy Blake – The Witch’s Cap, 2004

Popular Works

Blake completed his undergraduate studies at School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 and obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts in 1995. He began making a name for himself in the late 1990s with his large, semi-abstract digital projections that were neither photographs nor paintings. These geometric forms with photographic images were reminiscent of movie scenes. Later, he started creating digital video sequences that were neither films, not paintings but appeared to be both. Blake called his works “time-based paintings”. In 2000s Blake started including narrative and documentary elements in his works. The Winchester video trilogy, shown at the San Francisco MoMA in 2005, told the story of Sarah Winchester’s Mystery House in San Jose, California. The widowed heiress to the Winchester fortune built a mansion full of mazes and dead-end staircases in order to protect herself from ghosts haunting her.

Blake started including narrative and documentary elements in his works, 2005

Sodium Family Values, 2005 - times 1, scientology site search help for home and download music policy terms
Jeremy Blake – Sodium Family Values, 2005

The Inspiration

The diaries of Ossie Clark, English fashion designer, responsible for creating the mod look in the 1960s were Blake’s source of inspiration for a 2003 work at Feigen Contemporary gallery. In addition to that, he contributed his artwork for Beck’s album Sea Change and created trippy, abstract sequences for the film Punch-Drunk Love, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson in 2002. The artist explored various themes in his works, such as violence, glamor, cultural personifications, combining abstraction and representation in fresh and exciting ways. Blake’s works have been exhibited outside the United States. His works have been held in 14 museum collections and included in three Whitney Biennials. He was recognized as one of the first to merge painting and digital world.

The artist explored various themes in his works

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Jeremy Blake – Hobhouse, 2006

The Love Story

Jeremy met Theresa Duncan in D.C. in 1994. One year later, they ran into each other backstage at a concert and shortly after became an “It” couple, popular in the artistic circles. Their deep and devoted relationship lasted for 12 years later, until their deaths. Duncan and Blake were madly in love and very protective of each other. Their friends could not recall that the couple ever had any conflict, they were a “dynamic force”, always together. Theresa was freelance essayist, cultural critic and computer game designer, who made a name for herself with CD-ROM games Chop Suey, Smarty and Zero Zero, which attracted a cult following among girls. Five years older than Blake, she was also known for her blog the Wit of the Staircase, where she wrote about her cultural obsessions, ranging from Kate Moss to perfumes. The couple was perceived as attractive, intelligent and knowledgeable, which just made the abrupt end of their lives even more shocking.

Duncan and Blake were madly in love and very protective of each other

Jeremy Blake - Phantachrome, scientology privacy, 2004
Jeremy Blake – Phantachrome, 2004

The Paranoia

Seven months prior to their suicides, the couple moved from Los Angeles to New York. Their friends thought that it was due to Blake’s new consulting job at Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto franchise creators, or maybe because Theresa was tired of narrow-minded Hollywood executives who didn’t share her artistic vision, or simply because they missed New York. They lived in New York for many years before moving to Los Angeles. However, there was something else. Blake and Duncan started displaying unusual, erratic behavior, they were growing paranoid and blaming the government and Scientologists for working against them. They were so sure that the Church of Scientology was conspiring against them, that they prepared a lawsuit against the church which they never filed, a 27-page document in which they accused Scientologists of harassing, following and threatening them. And not only the church, but also Tom Cruise, filmmaker-artist-author Miranda July, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, former Viacom Chief Executive Tom Freston, rock artist Beck and Art Forum Editor Tim Griffin and many of their friends and neighbors.

They were growing paranoid and blaming the government and Scientologists for working against them

Olympischer Sommer, 2006 - 1
Jeremy Blake – Olympischer Sommer, 2006

The Suicide

It all tragically ended when Blake found Theresa dead in their apartment, overdosed on a lethal cocktail of whiskey and Tylenol PM. Apart from a bottle of pills and alcohol, there was a suicide note, saying “I love all of you.” A day before Theresa Duncan’s funeral, Blake was reported missing. His clothes, wallet and a short, hand-written suicide note were found on a beach in the Rockaways, in Queens. Police searched for him for days, hoping that he is still alive. However, five days later, the body found by a fisherman in the waters off Sea Girt was identified as that of Jeremy Blake, and the cause of death was presumed to be suicide. He was 35 years old. The artist’s father, Jeffrey, died when Jeremy was 17 years old. He lived with his mother, a half-sister, and a stepfather.
His work is now represented by ZooArt Gallery

Featured image – photo credit Chris Sanders
All other images courtesy of ZooArt Gallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2011Videosphere: A New GenerationAlbright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NYGroup
2011Pleasure Palace44a Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2011Revelation and RegenerationThe Big Screen, New York, NYGroup
2011Cine-Concert: Art in MotionNational Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.Group
2011Blink - Light, Sound & the Moving ImageDenver Art Museum. Denver, COGroup
2011Go WestSalt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
2011Bring to LightNuit Blanche New York, New York, NYGroup
2010Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art Since the 1960sSan Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio TX Group
2009Abstract Cinema and TechnologyMuseum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2008The Old Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary ArtContemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TXGroup
2008Southern Exposure: works from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art San DiegoMuseum of Contemporary Art, Sydney AustraliaGroup
2008Signals: A Video ShowcaseOrange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CAGroup
2007Jeremy Blake: Memorial ExhibitionKinz, Tillou + Feigen, New YorkSolo
2007Wild Choir: Cinematic Portraits by Jeremy BlakeCorcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.Solo
2007Sodium Fox and Recent WorksGalerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, FranceSolo
2007Rare EssenceAeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2007Picturing PixelsGallery W 52, New York, NYGroup
2007Animated PaintingSan Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CAGroup
2007The 59th Minute RetrospectiveTimes Square, NY Group
2007Pervasive Animation Programme OneTate Modern, London, EnglandGroup
2007Meme: RomanticismEFA Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2006Jeremy BlakeHonor Fraser Inc., Venice, CA Solo
2006The SearchersWhite Box, New York, NYGroup
2006Disaster - One Year AfterEzra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Middletown, CT Group
2006The Gospel of Lead (with Dario Robleto)Arthouse, Austin, TexasDuo
2006It's Not a PhotoChelsea Art Museum New York, NYGroup
2005Sodium FoxFeigen Contemporary, New YorkSolo
2005Recourse Lost, Jeremy Blake: The Winchester TrilogyCleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH Solo
2005WinchesterSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CASolo
2005Jeremy BlakeGalerie Tanit, München, GermanySolo
2005Impakt Festival 2005Utrecht, the NetherlandsGroup
2005All the Pretty CorpsesThe Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Group
2005Blur of the Otherworldly: Contemporary Art, Technology and the ParanormalCenter for Art and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD Group
2005Dreaming of a More Better FutureThe Reinberger Galleries, Cleveland, OHGroup
2005Afterallapexart, New York, NYGroup
2005Extreme AbstractionAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NYGroup
2005Staging the RealProjects at Clifford Chance, New York, NYGroup
2005Techno – SublimeCU Art Museum, University of Colorado at Boulder, COGroup
2004Jeremy BlakeCentro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Burgos, SpainSolo
2004Jeremy BlakeGalerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, FranceSolo
2004I Shot the SheriffSister, Los Angeles, CASolo
2004Jeremy Blake: Winchester TrilogyArt Gallery of York University, York University, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2004Jeremy BlakeGaleria Leyendecker, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, SpainSolo
2004Floor to Ceiling - Wall to WallWadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CTGroup
2004Whitney BiennialWhitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Group
2004One Channel OnlyAtrium Gallery, University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts, Storrs, CTGroup
2004ParanormalAeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2004BreathtakingThe Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University, Boston, MAGroup
2003Autumn AlmanacFeigen Contemporary, New York, NY Solo
2003Jeremy BlakeMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, SpainSolo
2003Jeremy BlakeAmerican Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NYSolo
2003AnimationsKunst-Werke Berlin, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2003The Disembodied SpiritBowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, MEGroup
2003Animation Impulse: Video Art and the Generated ImageCheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN Group
2003MysticMassachusetts College of Art, Boston, MAGroup
2003School is OutSouthfirst, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2003Social Strategies: Redefining Social RealismUniversity Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, CAGroup
2003Imag(in)ing ArchitectureThe University of Connecticut Center for Visual Arts and Culture, Storrs, CTGroup
2003VideoMixArario Gallery, Cheonan-si, KoreaGroup
2003Imaging the AbstractFeigen Contemporary, New York, NY Group
2002Jeremy BlakeMuseum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, San Diego, CASolo
2002Mod LangBlaffer Gallery, University of Houston, Houston, TXSolo
2002Jeremy BlakeGalerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, FranceSolo
2002Jeremy BlakeGalerie Tanit, Munich, GermanySolo
2002Art & Film in the Age of AnxietySanta Monica Museum, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2002New York, New Work, NowCurrier Museum of Art, Manchester, NHGroup
2002Whitney BiennialWhitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2002Painting Without PaintingMuseum der Bildenden Künste LeipzigGroup
2002Looking At AmericaYale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CTGroup
2002Claude Monet and Abstraction: Kandinsky - Rothko - Richter up to Digital ImpressionismFondation Feyeler, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2002Remarks on ColorSean Kelly Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2001Mod LangFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYSolo
2001Disappearing FloorDorothée DePauw Gallery, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2001Angel DustXYZ, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2001Chemical SundownDot, London, EnglandSolo
2001The Forty Million Dollar BeatnikWorks on Paper, Inc., Los Angeles, CASolo
2001New WorksFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYGroup
2001010101: Art in Technological TimesSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
2001BitStreamsWhitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2001New SettlementsNikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2001AnimationsPS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NYGroup
2001The ApproximativeGhislaine Hussenot Galerie, Paris, FranceGroup
2001Duchamp's SuitcaseArnolfini Gallery, Bristol, EnglandGroup
2001CompressionFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYGroup
2000Jeremy Blake: Bungalow 8The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OHSolo
2000Jeremy Blake: Digital ProjectionsPennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PASolo
2000Jeremy Blake: StatementsArt Basel 2000, Basel, Switzerland Solo
2000Angel DustFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYSolo
2000Jeremy Blake: Angel Dust and Other WorksSchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2000Jeremy Blake: Angel DustGallery of Art, Johnson County Community College, Kansas City, MOSolo
2000Metropolis NowBorusan Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2000Maximal MinimalFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYGroup
2000Offensive MalereiLothringer 13, Munich, GermanyGroup
2000Elysian FieldsCentre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FranceGroup
2000Greater New YorkMuseum of Modern Art, P.S. 1, New York, NYGroup
2000Whitney BiennialWhitney Museum of American Art, New York, NYGroup
2000A Salon for the 21st CenturyJohn Weber Gallery, New York, NYGroup
20003nessMuseum Dhondt-Daenens, Deurle, BelgiumGroup
2000PictWalter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, CanadaGroup
2000ScannerCalifornia College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2000Años LuzInstituto Oscar Dominguez, Area de Cultura, Canary IslandsGroup
2000Scopophilia (pleasure in looking)The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OHGroup
2000New SettlementsLouisiana Museum, DenmarkGroup
1999Sucking in the Seventies, Recent WorksJacob Fabricius, Copenhagen, Denmark Solo
1999Bungalow 8Feigen Contemporary, New York, NYSolo
1999One Hit WonderWorks On Paper Inc., Los Angeles, CASolo
1999FifteenThe Lobby Gallery, Deutshe Bank, New York, NYGroup
1999Re-StructureGrinnell College, Bucksbaum Art Gallery, Grinnell, IAGroup
1999WhippersnapperVedanta Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
1999Good VibrationsTomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
1999Flaming JuneWorks On Paper, Inc., Los Angeles, CAGroup
1999One Dot ZeroInstitute for Contemporary Art, London, EnglandGroup
1999Formulas For RevelationThe Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY Group
1999Conduit Digital Film FestivalUniversity of Texas, Austin, TXGroup
1999Exploding CinemaRotterdam International Film Festival, The NetherlandsGroup
1999Hollywood Realism: Michael Auder & Jeremy BlakeVenetia Kapernekas Inc., New York, NYGroup
1998The History of GlamourWorks On Paper Inc., Los Angeles, CAGroup
1998Oriental NightsGavin Brown's Enterprise, New York, NYGroup
1998The History of GlamourBronwyn Keenan Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1998Spectacular OpticalThread Waxing Space, New York, NYGroup
1998Inglenook IIUniversity of Illinois, Normal, ILGroup
1998PetsBronwyn Keenan Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1998InglenookFeigen Contemporary, New York, NYGroup
1998Jeremy Blake: Silver HillBronwyn Keenan Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1995Heaven's In the Backseat of My CadillacName Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
1994AftershocksLos Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup