USA Archive


Lancet features Excerpt from SBAG

Altered mind: creation of an artist


What would you do if you had a symptom so severe that you thought of ending your own life? If one operation could cure you or leave you with devastating disability? That was the conundrum faced by Jon Sarkin, a chiropractor from the USA who developed a tortuous noise in his ears, tinnitus, which he described as being “like a thousand screaming baboons…”.

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DeCordova Advocation

To Whom It May Concern:

As Senior Curator of the DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum, a museum of modern and contemporary America art in Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA, I am writing on behalf of artist Jon Sarkin. I have known Mr. Sarkin, and have carefully followed the progress of his work, since 2005. I have conducted numerous studio visits with the artist, and attended several exhibitions of his work at commercial gallery and alternative space venues. In 2006, I was privileged to include Mr. Sarkin’s work in The 2006 DeCordova Annual Exhibition, a yearly group show focused on important recent work by emerging and established contemporary artists in the New England visual arts community. For the 2006 Annual, we staged a conceptual and interactive recreation of Mr. Sarkin’s studio, an installation that contained several hundred of his drawings, paintings, poems, and musical compositions. Subsequent to that show, we acquired several of his drawings for our Permanent Collection.

Without any formal art training, Mr. Sarkin has managed to create a profound and prolific body of work over the last decade. His creativity is truly unbridled, and manifests itself in several simultaneous performative and visual arts media. I am particularly impressed by his drawings, exhibited both as single pages and as artist books. These energetic and eloquent marker drawings synthesize Mr. Sarkin’s influences and pre-occupations: automatic writing, comics and cartoons (particularly Saul Steinberg and Robert Crumb), Picasso’s sculpture, concrete poetry, music (especially free jazz), word games, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, entropy, palimpsests, landscape, and architecture. Mr. Sarkin wrests order from this chaos to reflect the unfiltered process of human creativity that releases us from the bonds of time and space.

And, I hasten to add, in all my dealings with Mr. Sarkin, I have found him to be unerringly professional, responsible and responsive, articulate, intellectually generous, and kind. It has been a joy to work with him.

I recommend Jon Sarkin and his work to you with the greatest possible enthusiasm. Should you wish to discuss his talents, achievements, and character, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail:, or direct phone: (781) 259-3617.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very sincerely yours,

Nick Capasso, Ph.D.

Senior Curator

DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum

51 Sandy Pond Road

Lincoln, MA o1773 USA

(781) 259-3617