Left: Jack Pierson, Silver Jackie, 1991, Mylar, painted wood, and Christmas lights. Installation view. Right: Jack Pierson, Untitled (male nude), 1993, color photograph, 40 x 30".

“Jack Pierson, Regrets”

New Museum

Jonathan Pierson may have been born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1960, but Jack Pierson was invented in Miami Beach in 1983.” So begins curator Bonnie Clearwater’s pamphlet text for “Regrets,” the midcareer retrospective she organized at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. Not a bad entrée to the artist’s oeuvre, especially taken with the title. Legends, factually grounded or heavily airbrushed, figure prominently in chronicles of artistic self-invention or reinvention—Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles, Gauguin in Tahiti, Poussin in Rome, tout le monde à Paris. And personal legend vibrates throughout Pierson’s art. “My work demonstrates the disaster inherent in the search for glamour,” he has said. It’s tempting to emend this remark to read: “the disaster inherent in my search for glamour.”

Pierson first attracted attention in the early ’90s, the moment of “slacker” and “loser” art.

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 2002 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.