I initially planned to have my first "big" arts & culture outing during the third week of January when I make my way up to the Museum of Art & Design for a special event spotlighting the Dead Treez exhibit by Ebony G. Patterson. But a brisk morning browsing my Twitter feed during my daily commute drew my attention to the last days of a very special showcase at the New Museum by an artist who may not be a household name, but his influence is no less profound: Jim Shaw.
As a newbie to Le Grande Pomme, I had not yet made it out to the New Museum, so this was as nice an introduction as any. I could've done without the line that stretched all the way down the block and around the corner on a less-than-balmy 34ºF evening, but hey! That's what happens when you visit a popular exhibit at a trendy museum in New York on Pay-What-You-Wish night, right? ;-)
Either way, the exhibit, the first of its size and scope for Jim Shaw in New York, was bursting with a motley crew of mediums, styles and messages that I fear my mere 90-minute self-guided tour only served as, at best, an introductory primer to Shaw's work. With that said, Shaw's movement from oil paintings to pencil drawings to installations to sculptures to postcards to album covers and back again only confirmed an artist who was not only hell-bent on not being confined by the regulations and expectations of conventional society, but by the art world as well.
Thankfully, I took the time to listen to more of Shaw's thoughts and catalysts behind selections of his work via the audio tour. And I learned quite a bit about the man himself. What I learned was: He and I would never see eye-to-eye on any topics related to sociology, psychology and politics, but he somehow created art that strikes an enigmatic chord with me. Now there's something to be said for that!
Below are 20-odd photos I took of my traipse through the second, third and fourth floors of the New Museum. Most of the images are engaging; some are shocking, but all are unquestionably art according to Jim Shaw.
Sadly, the exhibit shocked its last patron on Sunday, January 10th before packing up and heading out of town. So if you've never had a chance to see Shaw's work, please feel free to take a gander below, click to enlarge, and ogle the detail. And if you need a little more info on who exactly Jim Shaw is and why you would care about his art, here's the description provided by the New Museum team:
"Over the past 30 years, Shaw has become one of the US's most influential and visionary artists, moving between painting, sculpture, and drawing, and building connections between his own psyche and America's larger political, social, and spiritual histories. Shaw mines his imagery from the cultural refuse of the 20th century, using comic books, record covers, conspiracy magazines, and obscure religious iconography to produce a portrait of the art scene since the 1970s, Shaw has never had a comprehensive museum show in New York. This exhibition, encompassing 3 floors of the New Museum, reveals the breadth and inventiveness of his art. A large selection of his works is presented alongside objects from his collections of vernacular art and religious didactic materials."
Jim Shaw exhibition statement
"Utopian Landscape No4 Plain of Jars" by Jim Shaw
"Sometimes He Found Disturbing Things on the Street" by Jim Shaw
My favorite pieces in The Life and Death Series
"Stinking with Sin" - The Life and Death Series
"Nearsighted couple on a Sunday Drive" by Jim Shaw
"Seven Deadly Sin" triptych by Jim Shaw
"Could be Sloth" by Jim Shaw - The Seven Sins Series
"Gluttony" by Jim Shaw - The Seven Sins Series
"Could be Pride" by Jim Shaw - The Seven Sins Series
"Dream Object (in a dark mansion)" by Jim Shaw
"Hand Impaled By Knife With Melting Watch Out Window" by Raymond
A Hawkman comic book issue by Jim Shaw
A piece from a Jim Shaw personal collection by Saunders
"Robot Bursts Out of a Crate" by Danny Hall
Jim Shaw exhibit on the 4th floor
"Moon" by Jim Shaw
Art works by Jim Shaw on the 4th Floor
"Sculpted Murals" by Jim Shaw
"Sculpture" by Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw's 4th Floor Intro for exhibition