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Artist Jack Pierson Awaits The Rapture

Jack Pierson’s THE END OF THE WORLD opened on January 12th at Regen Projects in Los Angeles.

His most striking piece, also entitled The End Of The World, is a 14 x 100 foot wooden sculpture spelling out the aforementioned words, correlating the Hollywood sign to the end of the Mayan calendar. It sits nestled by the small phonograph sculpture Just A Dream and the tiny word sculpture Sad in the gigantic, main exhibition space.

The End Of The World is my largest work to date,” said Pierson, “The second biggest, I guess, is Paradise, which resides in Miami at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Paradise and The End Of The World, I wonder if there’s a theme? Maybe I’m waiting for the Rapture?”

Shaun Regen, who first met the artist in the early 1990s, explained that Pierson’s current work has “evolved by being more formally and conceptually complex,” but is also “very close in theme to his original show” in 1994 with Regen Projects.

“Everything about the show surprised and excited me, from the press release that Jack wrote positioning himself as an aging action hero (within the constraints of the art world) to the ‘movie’ poster and ad that he produced with Tim Palen as the announcement for the show…” said Regen.

Pierson’s first show at the gallery’s new Hollywood location exhibits a quite diverse body of work. His neon By The Sea sculptures line the outer hallway, peering through several windows onto the street. There are fictitious tabloids featuring James Dean, Mia Farrow and The Suicide Liz Taylor Won’t Talk About. His works on paper harken back to his early drawings; installed in a grid of 15, shouting out phrases like “You Don’t Own Me,” “One More Time,” and “Some Rich Old Homo.”

“As always, Jack’s sense of space is impeccable, and he really engaged with the new gallery in a formidable way,” continues Regen, “… he made the Little Richard painting in the gallery several nights before the opening.”

There are also a few pieces comprised of found signage, such as Drug Dealers and Movie Stars, that continue the discourse. Brian Meola, an artist who works with Pierson to collect these objects, described the process:

“I’ve learned to understand the difference between just any sign letter and ones that are a part of a much richer history, that become even more than something lost or discarded. For example, the work A Triumph! contains bulb-lighted quotation marks and an exclamation point. Those were found in an abandoned heap behind an old sign company warehouse in Chicago. The factory had been closed for decades, soon to be torn down. These are some of the largest marquee letters Jack has found and used in his work. These most likely adorned the front of an old theater…”

Inspired by the phrase, “It’s not the end of the world,” the show opened the night before the Golden Globes to a glamorous crowd, perhaps the anti-climax after the much-anticipated, yet sleepy conclusion of the Mayan calendar. Seeing American household name Will Ferrell in attendance blurred the lines of reality further in Pierson’s playful ode to the industry.

Jack Piersonʼs work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including CAC Málaga, Spain; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; MCA, Miami, Florida; and MCA, Chicago, Illinois. Extensive monographs and publications have been published about the work including Desire Despair, Angel Youth, and Jack Pierson. He lives and works in New York City.




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