JIM SHAW “THE END IS HERE” _ AT THE NEW MUSEUM N.Y.
„The End is Here“ pays tribute to one of the United States’ most inventive and influential artists: Jim Shaw. Moving between painting, sculpture and drawing he’s building connections between his own state of mind and America’s larger political, social, and spiritual histories.
Shaw mines his imagery from the cultural refuse of the twentieth century, using comic books, record covers, conspiracy magazines, and obscure religious iconography to produce a portrait of the nation’s subconscious. Although a recognized icon of the Los Angeles art scene since the 1970s, Shaw has never had a comprehensive museum show in New York.
Shaw’s work is inspired by his childhood in suburban Michigan, his adopted home of Los Angeles where he has lived for over thirty years, and the dark and sprawling underbelly of America as a whole. Along with fellow Michigan-native Mike Kelley, Shaw moved to California in the 1970s to attend Cal Arts and was one of a number of notable artists to emerge from the school in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
His work is distinguished by rigorous formal and structural analyses of neglected forms of vernacular culture, informed by his large collections of objects representative of consumer desires, religious fervor, and a constantly evolving counterculture. For Shaw, these seemingly mundane artifacts reflect shifting social and political values and the way in which individual Americans are the product of a variety of conflicting forces.
This survey also includes a presentation of his collection of thrift store paintings, originally shown in New York in 1991, as well as his ongoing collection of religious and pedagogical materials. Presented under the title “The Hidden World,” this diverse assortment of pamphlets, posters, banners, and other ephemera catalogs the spiritual exhortations and admonishments of a constantly expanding pantheon of homegrown prophets and visionaries.
Shaw’s collections demonstrate his insight into the spiritual and aesthetic histories of America and the ways in which the obscure, personal expressions he has collected have informed his own unique artworks. As part of his process, Shaw consistently relies upon in-depth historical research, the exploration of his own personal experience and subconscious, and the creation of fictitious histories and characters. The combination of these strategies results in a powerful evocation of the themes of belief, madness, materialism, and war, as they continue to influence contemporary life.
THE END IS HERE
THE NEW MUSEUM
THROUGH 01 OCTOBER 2016