Jack Goldstein

By: Alix Lambert
September 27, 2011

A key member of what came to be known as the Pictures Group, JACK GOLDSTEIN (1945-2003) never received the same sustained attention that fellow conceptual artists and experimental filmmakers like Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman did. Goldstein’s films addressed the gesture; by recontextualizing the moment, and changing or removing the meaning of his subject, his practice would influence generations of artists. (One of my favorite examples of this is his 1975 film Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [below], which loops the MGM Lion roaring over and over in front of a bright red background.) In the ’80s, Goldstein started painting, which some in the avant garde saw as a sell-out; his work was born out of photographic images of lightning, technology, war, volcanoes, science: the “spectacular instant.” Goldstein was my painting teacher my freshman year at the School of Visual Arts. I preferred to paint at home, so we would meet and he would critique my work, and we’d talk. Others in the class objected to my painting anywhere but in the classroom; Goldstein’s response: “When one of my students stops coming to class — I know I am doing something right.” He struggled with an unquiet soul; he once said, “The man committing suicide controls the moment of his death by executing a back flip.” He hanged himself at 57.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Jim Thompson.

READ MORE about members of the Blank Generation (1944-53).


Art, HiLo Heroes