The Lonely Life

Artist: Jack Pierson (American, born 1960)

Date: 1992

Medium: Chromogenic print

Dimensions: Frame: 76.2 × 101.6 cm (30 × 40 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.379

Rights and Reproduction: © Jack Pierson


In 1994, Pierson was invited by the Whitney Museum of American Art to show his photographs alongside a group of works by Edward Hopper (1882-1967) that the artist selected from their vast holdings. Like Hopper, Pierson creates works that are inherently cinematic in their scope and effects; both are primarily concerned with mood, atmosphere, and exhibit a particularly urban kind of melancholy. His greatest asset, however, is an almost overwhelmingly lush palette, which he uses to depict objects of desire or scenes that are unabashedly sensual and emotional. An excellent example of the artist's high-key chromaticism, The Lonely Life describes the unique brand of loneliness shared by the performer and the fan, both of whom (like Pierson) are doomed to experience existence solely through the intoxications of art.