Jack Pierson

Biography of Jack Pierson

Using a wide array of mediums Jack Pierson investigates the deceptive undercurrents and emotional force of everyday life. Often using friends as models, he engages with pop culture and has photographed Snoop Dogg, Brad Pitt, and Naomi Campbell among others. Alongside Nan Goldin and a few notable others, he is considered part of the Boston School of photographers who are linked through their depiction of intimates in casual situations.


Jack Pierson first made art with found objects retrieved from junkyards and old casinos in 1991. Known as Word Sculptures he melded mismatched letters to produce words and phrases with a cacophony of different meanings.


In 2003 Jack Pierson’s book of photographs Self-Portrait featuring 15 images of naked men (not of the artist but of friends and models) set out to form an arc of life, from childhood through to adulthood. Born in 1960 in Massachusetts, Pierson's work is usually autobiographical in nature and he is openly gay. Preoccupied with the idea of celebrity his work encapsulates a yearning for the ideal, a distant idolizing that cajoles his audience into identifying with that same imagery. Despite the often distressing expression that forms much of his work, he is always attracted to glamor and humor.


Jack Pierson is also well known for his “first page drawings”, for which he takes original texts from famous female authors such as Jean Rhys, Marilyn Monroe, and Barbara Pym and meticulously copies them out by hand. He lives in New York and his work is in the major collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum both in New York. A mid-career retrospective of his work was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, in 2002. In 2008 he had a major exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and in 2009 at the CAC Málaga in Spain.

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