Under the Cover: Jack Pierson

In this month’s episode of “Under the Cover,” Artforum editor-in-chief David Velasco talks with April cover artist Jack Pierson about the work Silver Jackie (1991), Mark Morrisroe, and his coming of age in Miami.

“Under the Cover” is a monthly web series that talks with the artists whose work is featured on Artforum's cover.

Jack Pierson is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice draws on photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture to examine themes of memory, absence, longing, desire, faded glamour, and nostalgia. He gained early recognition as the youngest founding member of the Five of Boston, a group that included fellow classmates David Armstrong, Philip Lorca di Corca, Nan Goldin, and their friend Mark Morrisroe. Together their explorations in photography defined a generation of artists who came to prominence in the late 1980s. Pierson’s photographs capture fragmentary moments and commonplace objects, which he elevates to scenes of unexpected and universal beauty. He is known, too, for large-scale word sculptures composed of vintage letters salvaged from commercial signage, which he has collected over the years.

Next spring, Pierson will participate in High Desert Test Sites 2022: The Guests of Hotel Palenque. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions nationally and internationally including 5 Shows from the ‘90s, Aspen Art Museum (2017); OMG, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT (2015); Centro de Arte Contempóraneo de Málaga (2009); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008); Regrets, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2002); and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1995); among others.

Work by the artist is held in prominent museum collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Baltimore Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Seattle Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; among others.

Pierson is the creator of a celebrated artist book, Tomorrow’s Man, inspired by the famous bodybuilding magazine from the 1950s and ‘60s. Now in its fifth edition (Bywater Bros. Editions, 2020), the book has expanded into a number of curatorial projects for the artist. Other publications of his work include JACK PIERSON + BABY ROBERTS (EY!BOY COLLECTION, 2020); The Hungry Years (Damiani, 2017); Angel Youth (Charta, 2008); Desire/Despair (Rizzoli, 2006); and Every Single One of Them (Twin Palms, 2004); among others.

He lives and works in New York and Wonder Valley, CA.