News and Events

Oct 30

Jack Early, You’re A Grand Old Fag
June 26 - August 21

We are thrilled to invite artist, friend and gate keeper at Wythe Hotel , Jack Early, to create an installation in our lobby. His piece, You’re A Grand Old Fag is inspired by a mash-up of gay and popular American culture, with a nostalgic nod at the 1970s. This site-specific piece will coincide with our Pride festivities, beginning June 26th.

Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, gay boys had to look hard for any references to homosexuality, but found them in figures such as Rip Taylor on the Merv Griffin Show and Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares. At a time when it was acceptable to be “odd,” but not really “out,” Taylor’s confetti throwing, bad punning, and hysterical mannerisms and Lynde’s droll bitchiness were allowed not merely to exist, but to thrive on prime-time television.

Early’s ascent to fame began in the late 1980s as part of the artistic collaboration Pruitt-Early. Pruitt-Early’s irreverent work challenged prevailing orthodoxies and blurred the boundaries between low culture and high art.

Their first solo show, Artwork for Teenage Boys, was held in 1990 at 303 Gallery, in New York. Pruitt-Early quickly garnered attention, and in 1992 they presented an exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery. Following the Castelli show, which was misunderstood and infamously panned, Early went into a self-imposed exile from the art world.

Early began writing songs, which have become integral to many of his new art objects. Since 2009, he has been making objects that explore the breadth of American pop culture. Glenn O’Brien describes Early as a “new sort of blues-man . . . making work that reflects the lonesome road he’s been on, a road that goes through Jesus, Jesus Christ Superstar, John and Yoko, protest movements, and the United Federation of Planets.”

Recent exhibitions have included Pop Life: Art in a Material World, Tate Modern, London, 2009–10; Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2009–11; Jack Early: WWJD, Southfirst, Brooklyn, 2012; and Jack Early: Gallery Peace, McCaffrey Fine Art, New York, 2012.

Early received a BA from North Carolina Wesleyan College in 1986.

He lives and works in Brooklyn.