Matthew Day Jackson

What could a Viking burial ship, Piet Mondrian, and the punk bands Black Flag and Bad Brains possibly have in common? For Matthew Day Jackson they serve as points in a constellation, multiple references that can be overlaid to draw, in his words, “a cosmological chart.” The Viking ship in question is Jackson’s sculpture Sepulcher, 2003–2004, which the artist constructed from unused material in his studio, as well as from bits and pieces scavenged from previous work. This conscious process of recycling extends to the sail, which references a Mondrian abstraction but is entirely composed of Jackson’s old T-shirts. According to legend, a burial vessel should be sailed out to sea, set afire, and sunk. But here the course charted is decidedly forward. In effect, Sepulcher suggests that the preoccupations of Jackson’s youth—modern art, various bands and products—were cast aside to preserve his

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