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Jessamyn Lovell: D.I.Y. P.I.

Main Gallery
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 26, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Click here to see installation images

Artist Jessamyn Lovell is pursuing her private investigator’s license, using photography and performance to draw attention to social and cultural power dynamics. D.I.Y. P.I. (Do It Yourself Private Investigator) is the moniker for her most recent collaborative project through which she invites people to deeply consider their own experiences and embrace the power that comes with discovering and telling one’s own story.

Lovell’s story traces her examinations of privacy and narrative to question where truth meets fiction.

For D.I.Y. P.I., Lovell is holding clinics and interactive performances across the country. For her exhibition at Central Features, she will mount an unprecedented exhibition of the project, consisting of sousveillance materials (photography, video, handmade books) related to her commissions. The gallery installation of her temporary P.I. office will serve as an interactive opportunity for the audience to become participants and collaborators in the project.

Lovell’s working relationships are collaborative, performative, professional, and confidential, and each client receives an artwork-dossier upon completion of the case. What is included in the dossier is always a surprise, based on information Lovell uncovers about each client during their work together.

The inquisitive exhibition will be activated by contemporary art patrons and mystery fans alike who can directly interact with the project in any of the following ways:

  • Commission Lovell to create a custom case for them, so they may apply their own investigative skills to solve uncovering a maze of clues.
  • Hire Lovell to investigate a case. Her client work so far has ranged from searching for lost pets to serving court documents to locating missing or estranged individuals. She also works on aspects of home security, self-defense, and collaborations with other artists. 
  • Attend one of several exhibition-related events, including a whiskey tasting. Click here for tickets.

Jessamyn Lovell’s work has been recognized internationally, is found in a wide range of public and private art collections, and has received several awards, including the internationally known Aperture Portfolio Prize. Dear Erin Hart, was the subject of stories on, This American Life and The Today Show, and was named as one of the Best Photo Stories of 2015 by Wired Magazine. Her book Dear Erin Hart, released in May 2015 by San Francisco Camerawork, was a finalist for the 2015 GuatePhoto Book Award and nominated for the 2015 Paris Book Award.

Earlier Event: August 19
Conversation with Corey Pickett
Later Event: September 30
D.I.Y. P.I. Closing Event