new-york

Jack Pierson

Cheim & Read

Jack Pierson has already made salvaged-sign-letter word sculptures spelling out ANGST, GONE, HELL, BETRAYAL, DESIRE/DESPAIR, and LOST, so maybe it was only a matter of time before he got around to MELANCHOLIA. Or perhaps it just took a while for him to name the temperament that saturates his work; melancholy turns, after all, on ambivalence and deferral. In his recent show at Cheim & Read, Pierson filled the gallery with twenty-four works in different media that, the press release claims, meditate on “women’s suffering.” But this dwelling on loss extended out from his feminine subjects to encompass beautiful boys, works of literature, language, and even the artist himself. “The complex of melancholia behaves like an open wound,” Freud wrote, attracting satellite cathexes “from all directions.”

In seven lovely small pencil drawings, for example, Pierson meticulously copies the first pages

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