One minute video of “Everything,” by Jeff Zimmermann at the Zhou Brothers’ Gallery.
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"Everything," from Jeff Zimmermann

One of the few artists in America capable of painting hyper realistic public art while suspended 160 feet in the air, Jeff Zimmermann’s “Everything,” a retrospective of his studio work dating back to 1998, is presented by the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago from October 16 – November 9. This is the artist’s first gallery show in more than 10 years. 

A Chicago native, Zimmermann is known for his enormous works of commissioned public art including the 250’ foot “You Know What You Should Do” mural along Chicago’s famed Lake Shore Drive, the 5000 square foot ConAgra Mural on the city’s 606 and the 16-story “Knot Building” in South Loop, Zimmermann’s technique in rendering faces of local people is highly accomplished and unique. He uses a brush, never a spray can or stencil, even while navigating sky-high scaffolding in extreme weather.

“Sorry Not Sorry,” a 30’ gallery version in the style of Zimmermann’s public work, highlights the show which will feature thought provoking imagery more appropriate for a gallery. Additional studio works presented in this retrospective represent the artist’s thoughts but not necessarily what he wants the public, through his public art, to think about.

Even when it's not his own vision, Zimmermann is known as the "go to” artist for enormous public art renderings. Last fall, Zimmermann spent two months on scaffolding adapting Kerry James Marshall’s “Rushmore,” a small work on paper, into a 13,500 square foot iconic work of public art on the west exterior wall of the Chicago Cultural Center. Recently, gallerist Rona Hoffman commissioned Zimmermann to transform one of her artist’s works into a 70’ x 50’ mural in Rosemont, IL.

Starting in the late 90’s, Zimmermann's murals changed our understanding of what a mural could be. Often thought of as contemporary street art, Zimmermann's public art is really coming from the tradition of muraling. He understands it's the responsibility of the artist to push the medium forward.

Gone are the obvious narratives and historical figures. His public art is treated more like a canvas in the studio. Ideas, impulses, even pop imagery, are all used in a free association approach to creating art work that is puzzling and, at the same time, challenges the public to use their imagination.

Basically, Zimmermann brought the sensibilities of studio work and fine art to the realm of public art.

Zimmermann’s public art can be seen across America and in Mexico, Argentina, Kenya and Peru.

Follow Jeff Zimmermann on Instagram at: JeffZimmermann

About The Zhou Brothers & The Zhou B Gallery
Among the most legendary and established cultural figures in the contemporary art world, the Zhou brothers, originally from China, reside in Chicago and Beijing. While enjoying a globally renowned art career spanning decades, they've built the “Zhou B Art Center” into the most popular private art center in Chicago. A new Zhou B Art Center opens soon in the most prominent area of downtown Beijing.

Zhou B “Everything” exhibition info:


“The Prestige,” by Jeff Zimmermann: Post college, I was a volunteer in Peru. We worked with street kids- "working kids" we called them because they all did something to make money: sell candy, newspapers, clean wind shields, shoe shines... I've been thinking about the caravan and what's been happening to our new Latin American visitors, especially the kids. I called a good friend in Tacna, Peru and told him I needed something to finish the installation. Something to feel like a mini presence- a little ghost. I told him to go find one of the kids and buy them new flip flops. And send me the pair off their feet.