Jesse Duquette: Cryptids & Creepshows to Open at BravinLee programs




Jesse Duquette, ‘Many People Are Saying’, for the exhibition Cryptids and Creepshows. Image courtesy of the artist and BravinLee programs.
May 5th – June 8th 
Opening Friday May 5th, 6-8 PM 
BravinLee programs is very pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by Jesse Duquette. He is the creator of The Daily Don, an Instagram-based project documenting every day of the Trump administration with cartoons. Duquette has released two books through Skyhorse Publications (The Daily Don: All the News That Fits into Tiny, Tiny Hands (2019) and The Pandemic Edition: From Impeachment to Imbleachment (2020). Duquette is Instagram’s most shadow-banned cartoonist. 

The exhibition includes 26 of Duquette’s political cartoons and 26 new drawings of legendary beasts (also known as Cryptids). There will be a live-streamed gallery talk with Duquette and fellow artist/cartoonist Guy Richards Smit on Saturday, May 6th at 5pm. Contact BravinLee programs for more information.

Jesse Duquette, ‘Chinless Dust Mummy Devouring His Ego’, for the exhibition Cryptids and Creepshows. Image courtesy of the artist and BravinLee programs.

Duquette on his Cryptids: “Of all the traits shared by humans throughout history, few run deeper than the need to mythologize existential terror. Every culture, tribe, nation, and empire to walk the earth has their own beasts and bogeymen, conjured as cautionary tales and morality lessons to offer haunted context for the unknowable elements of the world. The process of cataloguing these acts as a reminder that man has always invented awful monsters from the same pool of anxiety and dread, a pool that unifies us more than any factor of geography, era, or creed can divide. And in our age of very real villains, I hope to provide context and a rightful place for the fascists and whites supremacists that stalk our shadows today, and offer proof that man will always out-monster his worst nightmares.” 

The 26 Creepshow drawings are a selection of Duquette’s political cartoons aimed squarely at the societal plague of Trump and Trumpism, along with its kissing cousins, white supremacy and Fox News. The drawings are on Duquette’s Instagram account and new ones are posted frequently. Duquette may be the first artist in history to have an artwork fact-checked by Snopes and designated as “true.”

Despite Jesse Duquette’s celebrity and his art’s substantial impact and relevance to the real-world political discourse, this is his first solo exhibition anywhere, ever. 
The traditional path to art world success has typically been through commercial art galleries. Gallerists small and large are the gatekeepers to artistic renown. In a perfect world, museum curators would be sifting through the haystack of unrepresented artists. As it is, they largely rely on gallerists to winnow the wheat, and look no further than the commercial gallery “stables” for their next “discoveries.” Museums predominantly support artists represented by the world’s richest and most powerful galleries. They fundraise from the coffers of the affluent commercial galleries (and their collectors) and—what a shock—the favor is returned… 

Jesse Duquette, ‘Cocaine Bear Goes to Washington’ for the exhibition, Cryptids and Creepshows. Image courtesy of the artist and BravinLee programs.

Enter Jesse Duquette. So-called internet famous artists like Duquette represent a healthy new way for gaining recognition and acclaim. While social media fame doesn’t replace art galleries, nor should it, it’s a refreshing addition to the old-school system. With hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, Duquette has achieved relevance without conventional commercial success. The art world is effective and efficient in its own ways, especially at creating high-priced merch coveted and traded like baseball cards by an infinitesimally small fraction of the public. Duquette’s work reaches a global audience, far beyond the faux-progressive, art world echo chamber. Amen to that

Cryptids & Creepshows, Works on Paper by Jesse Duquette will be on view from May 5 to June 8, 2023 at BravinLee Programs, 526 West 26th Street #211, NYC. There will be an Opening Reception on May 5th from 6-8pm.