Wright to Celebrate Chicago Legend Jason Pickleman with 'EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT'
1 SEPTEMBER 2023
Wright is honored to announce EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT: The Collection of Jason Pickleman, a September 14th auction celebrating the work and vision of beloved Chicago artist, designer, collector, and gallerist Jason Pickleman. Once described as "a dancefloor mainstay of Chicago," Pickleman is recognized for his artistic vision, playful demeanor, and remarkable generosity, and this auction is a rare opportunity for art enthusiasts to immerse themselves in his creative world.
Amassing art since he was a teenager, Pickleman attended Boston University where he studied English literature—and met Leslie Bodenstein, who would become his partner in life and at JNL Graphic Design. The pair founded the studio in 1992, working from a decommissioned post office in Chicago's River North area and merging their art and design sensibilities with tremendous success. "To live in Chicago is to encounter Jason Pickleman’s work," according to the Chicago Tribune, and local clients have included Millennium Park, Avec, Blackbird, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, Poetry Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, EXPO Chicago, and the Field Museum. Beyond the Windy City limits, JNL has worked with clients including the Prada Foundation and Skinny Pop Popcorn, for whom they designed Warhol-inspired packaging.
The space between commercial and contemporary art has been of the utmost importance to Pickleman, who has defined himself by his ability to move effortlessly through these worlds as both an artist and collector. Pickleman was among the creators featured in the 2007 exhibition Young Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago, and his art now resides in the institution's permanent collection. His works have been shown at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Chicago Design Museum, Ken Saunders Gallery, and the Neon and Light Museum, among others. In 2021, he created a monumental sculpture for Sculpture Milwaukee and this celebrated work, Hand Heart (est. $30,000-50,000), leads EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT.
As testament to his unorthodox and open-hearted ethos as a collector, Pickleman opened his collection gallery Lawrence & Clark in 2015, named for the Chicago intersection where it stood. Here, Pickleman curated and installed works from his own collection, throwing open the doors to the public to be seen again (and again) by anybody who wanted to drop in. "Much of the work in EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT would have been on exhibit at Lawrence & Clark," Pickleman says. "When a collector buys a work of art, it usually gets sequestered away, and publicly seen again only very rarely. The gallery was a way of giving my collection a second public life."
Pickleman has long been an ardent supporter of rising talent in his chosen city, tirelessly making his own circuit between galleries, thesis exhibitions, and less formalized art spaces. Of his personal taste, Pickleman noted, "I’m most interested in ambiguity and pieces that seem strange or awkward; living with them fuels my creativity." The works featured in this auction reflect Pickleman's eclectic tastes, ranging, for example, from a Gaetano Pesce Amazonia vase (est. $1,000-1,500) to Jenny Holzer's Inflammatory Essays (est. $1,500-2,000) to infamous self-taught Chicago artist Wesley Willis's World Trade Center drawing (est. $1,000-1,500).
"I never thought much about the distinction between being an artist, designer, and an art collector," Pickleman says. "Each role informed and reinforced the others." With trust in his own taste and an infinite commitment to showing up for Chicago's art communities, Pickleman has built a unique collection that reflects his endless curiosity and creativity. "Jason has been a friend and colleague for many decades," says Richard Wright. "He and Leslie designed my very first advertisement back in 1992. It is an honor to work with them both for this special auction."
The full selection of works featured in EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT: The Collection of Jason Pickleman will be on view at Wright in Chicago from September 9th to 14th with gallery hours of 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, and 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. The auction will begin at 11 am central on Thursday, September 14th, and accommodates advanced bids, telephone bidding, and live online bidding. For further information, please reach out to email@example.com.