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Jason Pickleman (1965–2024)

May 12, 2024

Remembering renowned designer and MAS Context advisor Jason Pickleman.

Mas board advisors jason pickleman headshot

It is with tremendous sadness that we share the news that designer, artist, and art collector Jason Pickleman has died at the age of 59. Jason was a close friend, colleague, collaborator, contributor, and member of our board of advisors.

Jason was prolific and a key player in the design and art worlds in Chicago for over three decades. From 1992 until 2023 he ran JNL Graphic Design, a Chicago-based studio he cofounded with his wife Leslie Bodenstein. They produced remarkable work for clients such as Millennium Park, Avec, Blackbird, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, Poetry Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, EXPO Chicago, and the Field Museum. JNL’s work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College. From 2015 until 2020, Jason also ran his collection gallery Lawrence&Clark. Jason was a fixture of the social scene, attending gallery openings, supporting cultural institutions, and dancing at smartbar.

We at MAS Context had the pleasure of working with Jason on many occasions: Jason was part of our board of advisors, designed the cover of our first issue, More, and was interviewed as part of our inaugural issue. He contributed his poetry to our Boundary issue, contributed illustrations to our Surveillance and Debate issues, and designed our Hidden issue as well as an article for our Repetition issue. Besides the topic-based issues, Jason also designed the Nocturnal Landscapes publication that accompanied the exhibition of the same name that we organized in 2019. He presented during our inaugural MAS Context: Analog event in 2011, co-organized the inaugural edition of the Corkins Exchange in 2012 with us and Corkins Lodge, gave a tour of JNL Graphic Design in 2015, and hosted our exhibition on La Ricarda in his gallery, Lawrence&Clark. Last year, as JNL Graphic Design closed its doors, we published an article to celebrate their remarkable contributions with the voices of many who admire their work as clients, collaborators, and friends.

Jason was hugely important for all of us. We learned about design, art, and Chicago from him. We benefited from his support, conversations, and collaborations. We are devastated by his passing but we take comfort in the fact that we had him in our lives for the last two decades. Our condolences to Leslie, Willem, and all who mourn his loss.