Jack Pierson uses photography, drawing and sculpture to explore the complex emotional narratives surrounding historic and contemporary icons and iconography, and often creates work that can be read as a melancholic hymn to the subject of art and creation, fame, immortality and the passage of time. Delving into his own subconscious, the ideas and references explored in his work are deeply personal and spring from the artist’s inner intellectual and emotional world. Yet Pierson succeeds in transforming these private impulses into works of art that are, on the one hand, rooted in time and yet, on the other hand, seem to transcend it. His word sculptures are constructed from found objects – mismatched letters salvaged from junkyards, old movie marquees, roadside diners, Las Vegas casinos, and other abandoned enterprises. The letters are either arranged in abstract groupings, or combined to create individual words or phrases, and evoke a multiplicity of meanings. Pierson’s photographs and drawings also share a similar sense of specificity and plurality. The beauty of his work lies in its openness – each viewer brings his own interpretation to the work, one that is generated by their own memories and desire. His work is regularly commissioned for magazines and he has undertaken photography projects for several luxury fashion houses. Pierson’s photography can also be seen in a number of acclaimed books, including Desire/Despair, a survey published by Rizzoli of work made by Pierson between 1985 and 2005.
Recent solo exhibitions include the CAC - Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga, Spain, 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, 2002 and the Centre d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona, 2007. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in 2008.
Jack Pierson was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1960. He lives and works in New York and Southern California.
Text courtesy Xavier Hufkens.
On the eve of New York artist Jack Pierson's new show at the Aspen Art Museum, which restages and rehangs seminal art works Pierson made from 1990 to 1996, he spoke with the poet and critic Eileen Myles about how he started making art and how he made it real.
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