Jim Shaw

June 24 – August 19, 2017
Los Angeles

Opening reception: Saturday, June 24, 6–8pm

Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Jim Shaw. This marks Shaw’s second solo presentation with the gallery, and runs concurrently with the artist’s first comprehensive solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles titled The Wig Museum, on view at the Marciano Art Foundation through September 17.

For nearly forty years Shaw has been creating an expansive body of work—paintings, drawings, installations, sculpture, video, and sound—elucidating America’s social and spiritual histories. For this current exhibition the artist continues to illustrate overarching themes of belief, doubt, and politics—addressing such prescient topics as failing economies and crumbling power structures.

In a new series of paintings rendered on found theatrical backdrops, Shaw summons a mélange of superheroes, cultural figures, folkloric iconography, and apocalyptic forces of nature. A second body of work features black and white paintings in which Shaw utilizes the “cut-up method” used by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin to collage a picture of the near future. Here Shaw depicts worlds of chaos and control informed by a constant dialogue with art history and the spirit of Silver Age comics. The exhibition also features a selection of drawings—studies for the larger paintings­—offering an intimate sense of the artist’s process of generating anomalous and timeless characters and scenarios. In an adjacent room Shaw premieres his short film Tales from the Wig Museum (2017), a sequence of introductory segments to a fictional television series reminiscent of early 1960s psychological horror shows.  Weaving fact and fiction, Shaw ambitiously explores history and its fringes in a search for rationality in contemporary life.

Jim Shaw (born 1952 in Midland, MI) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Santa Clarita. His work has been shown extensively internationally and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including major surveys at the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA (2017); New Museum, New York, NY (2015); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2015); Chalet Society, Paris, France (2013), traveled to Centre Dürrenmatt, Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2014); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2012); Musee de’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2010); MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2007); MAGASIN, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France (2003); Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2001); and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2000). In 2013 his work was included in The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. His work is also featured in prominent public and private collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.  

Selected Works

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