Jack Early at Fergus McCaffrey
The singular New York artist looks back on his childhood in the South.

February 10, 2016

As an adult, Jack Early has already done all the things you and I would like to do. He made installation art cool. He had the first bad-ass white beard. He was a southern raconteur before the Johnathan-come-latelies. He was the lord of Times Squares both new and old. He hosted a party at Richard Artschwager’s house where the ceilings leaked blood. He’s put a severed finger in a Mountain Dew can. He and Tim Gunn go way back and he hung out with Grace Jones at the peak of her partying career. Having done it all as a grown up, it’s natural that his latest work should turn to his childhood.

To be specific, the show at Fergus McCaffrey explores Jack’s childhood from roughly 9-12 years old “and all the memories that come before that.” Of course, Jack already had style at age 9. “I was a little hippy from the age of 9-12. Can you imagine? It was the late 1960s.” Jack suffered from asthma as a child and was confined to his bedroom surrounded by wallpaper that his mother let him pick out himself. Young Jack chose a charming toy soldier design that has become the backdrop for both his gigantic Popsicle paintings and as his vintage porn paintings.

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