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Jess T. Dugan

Self-portrait (reaching), from the portfolio Every breath we drew

2021, published 2022

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Drawing from their own experiences as a queer and nonbinary person, the St. Louis–based artist Jess T. Dugan creates photographic portraits that present nuanced impressions of gender and sexuality, exploring the power of identity, desire, and intimate connection. Every breath we drew is a limited-edition portfolio comprising portraits of individuals and couples, self-portraits, and still lifes. The portfolio is a continuation of Dugan’s ongoing project of the same name, begun in 2011, using medium- and large-format cameras to create a deep, sustained engagement with the subjects. While many of their photographs of the past decade were made in private, interior spaces, restrictions brought by the coronavirus pandemic led to a productive shift as Dugan began to photograph models outside in public parks as well as rural locations in Missouri. In doing so, the artist positions queer life and love and gender nonconformity within the public realm during a wave of acutely anti-LGBTQ+ legislation throughout the United States. [Permanent collection label, 2023]

  • Artist Jess T. Dugan (American, b. 1986)
  • Title Self-portrait (reaching), from the portfolio Every breath we drew
  • Date 2021, published 2022
  • Medium Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl paper
  • Edition description 9/20
  • Dimensions sheet | 20 x 16 in.
  • Part of Every breath we drew
  • Credit line University purchase with funds from Ken and Nancy Kranzberg, 2022
  • Object number WU 2022.0007.0001.0010
  • Currently on View James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 3

New Acquisitions in Contemporary Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 07/19/2023 James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 3

Received 10/11/2022; proposed purchase approved by ACC 12/5/2022
Jess Dugan (St. Louis, MO)

Inscription Verso, in archival ink: signed, titled, and numbered

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