Jason Pickleman (1965–2024)



I'm incredibly sad to share that Jason Pickleman passed away on May 12, 2024. He was 59. 

Jason was a visionary, a lover of and creator of design, an artist, a collector, a party person and a cultural dilettante, he once told me. Along with his wife and partner Leslie Bodenstein, Jason founded JNL Graphic Design in 1992, which operated until 2023. Pickleman specialized in creating design that could be elevated to the same level as fine art, and in many cases that design stood on its own as art objects. Jason also ran Lawrence and Clark Gallery for several years, showing works from his own collection alongside practicing artists and even mail-in art. He also founded PICKLEMAN, an art advisory in his design studio. JNL was behind countless artistic synthesis, from catalogues and books to packaging and brands. 

Jason's indelible productions were the result of consuming as much visual culture as he could, day in and day out. He loved sharing art as much as he loved exploring and learning about it. I, and so many others, certainly benefitted from Jason's generous spirit and his wisdom. He was behind CGN's system for organizing the galleries and gallery districts in the early days of the magazine when Natalie van Straaten was publisher. He was a sounding board for me when we introduced the new annual CGN Arts Guide in 2017. And he became a contributor to CGN in 2021, somehow managing to write beautiful articles about a range of notable artistic contributions–from Ray Johnson to Keith Haring–in addition to everything else he was juggling in his daily life. 

A couple years ago I came across an old snapshot of myself standing on Michigan Avenue in April under a yellow street banner for Art Chicago, designed by Jason Pickleman. I was 14 in that photo, and of course I had no idea that so many of my future springs (and falls) would connect to Chicago's art fair season and to a professional path crossing with Jason. I sent the photo Jason asking if he could believe it, and he said it made him smile. I know I will always do the same when I remember Jason. 

We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and everyone else we know who loved him dearly. Thank you Jason. 


Works from Making Time for Joy at The Suburban in Milwaukee, summer 2o23


Read Jason's contributions to CGN below.

2016 collector interview

Book Report: Ray Johnson c/o


Sculpture Report: Keith Haring’s Self-Portrait

Felix Gonzalez-Torres “Untitled”, 1995, Billboard