Permanent Collection

Jack Pierson

Paradise, 1996

Neon Lights

15 x 45 feet.

Jack Pierson (born 1960 in Plymouth, Massachusetts) is an american artists based in New York. Graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1984, Pierson is most known for his word signage installations, drawings, and artist’s books. He works with a variety of mediums, including sculpture, photography, and video. Pierson’s work is moored by melancholy and introspection, yet his images are often buoyed by a celebratory aura of seduction and glamour. Using friends as models, he has consistently engaged star culture, whether the stars are from the screen, stage, or art world. Sometimes infused with a sly sense of humor, Pierson’s work is inherently autobiographical; his fixation with fame affirms the tendency to yearn for an ideal, allowing for the viewer’s identification with his imagery.


Paradise is a neon light sign that is currently exhibited in MOCA’s North Miami courtyard. Pierson created this piece by collecting different large scale vintage lettering commercial signs. Calligraphic, brightly colored, with references to both Minimalism and Pop, Pierson’s signage fragments reference the distinctly American roadside decay of old highways like Route 66.


[description:] Eight different letters spelling “Paradise” with a star above the letters “S” and “E”. The “P” is pink with a flat design, no neon lights. The “A” is white with lights covering the whole letter in rows. The “R” is the largest letter of them all, its yellow with a red color faded on the bottom. It also has lights covering it completely in rows. The “A” is the smallest letter, red colored with a white outline. This letter has a white neon tube inside on it that covers most of the surface. The “D” is a hollow metal letter, with orange lights inside of it. The “I” is white with a black outline and lights inside of it in rows. The “S” is the widest letter with a white surface and yellowish lights covering it in rows. The “E” is red in color, with a flat surface, hiding the lights inside of it. The star is positioned above the letter “S” and “E” at the end of the word. The star is white in color, but the lights inside of it are pink.

Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Museum Purchase
Gift of: P and A-Janet and Robert Liebowitz, R-Dr. Linda Kaplan for Rachel, A-Dr. Jules Oaklander for Alexander and Eric, D-Diane Sepler, I-Jacquelyn and Bruce
Brown, Michael and Jeanne Klein for Matthew and Mark, Sara Gibbons and
Natalie Ireland, E. Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Fund, Star Chasen Family