Public/Private Conversations

It’s been 20 years since the Oscar-winning short documentary “King Gimp” thrust Dan Keplinger ’98, ’07 into the spotlight. “Public/Private Conversations” is a celebration of Keplinger’s art work.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education presents an exhibition of Dan Keplinger’s work, curated by J. Susan Isaacs. This prints exhibition features bold colors and portraits, which serve as his voice, as the artist does not rely on technology for communication.  

Events will be hosted by TU Community Art Center and the Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science will highlight inclusion, adaptive solutions for participation in leisure and the arts as well as awareness of accessibility options will accompany the exhibit.

About Dan Keplinger

Artist’s Statement

As a person with a disability, I do not rely on technology for personal communication instead my art is my voice. I know my thoughts might be hidden by millions of words, that is why my art is not for decoration, but to start conversations. 

It might be a contradiction that I have a heavy presence on social media, and I do not know what I ever did without text, but when it comes to one-on-one communication, I have always resisted using ACC devices. Technology is meant to enhance our lives, not be a substitute for human touch. For example, the mythological third arm that people always spoke of for an eternity, now this has become reality with the use of voice control.

Does it have the same connotation as walking/rolling across the room to turn the light on for someone? As art and technology merge, how do I keep my voice from disappearing? That is what I was mostly concerned about as I turned to digital media. My mark making in my artwork is my language. It lets the viewer see my thoughts without having an interpreter between us whether human or electronic. No matter whether I communicate by voice, or art there is an intimacy that creates an unexplainable bond with me. I might talk with thousands of brush strokes and words, but it only takes one to feel my passion.

Daniel Keplinger, also known as “King Gimp,” graduated from Towson University with a B.A. in Mass Communications in 2000 and seven years later received his M.F.A. in Art+Design.