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    Complete archive, 1999-present


    Jim Shaw

    Haven't I seen you somewhere?

    California artist Jim Shaw plays with familiar images from mass culture, from cigarette-ad models frolicking in the waves to superhero chunks splayed on the floor.


    California-based artist Jim Shaw creates artwork that morphs a pop sensibility with uneasiness, reulting in images that are both arresting and disquieting. Reportedly all inspired by dreams he's had, the pieces in Shaw's current exhibit at Metro Pictures are compelling in their melding of the familiar with the disturbing. His art plays with the viewer's pool of visual references — you know you've seen some of the clues he's giving you somewhere before, but now those images are tweaked.

    Paintings, sculpture, installation by: Jim Shaw.
    Metro Pictures 519 West 24th St. (212) 206-7100 Through April 21, 2001

    In the first large room near the entrance of the gallery a sculptured head, arm and leg of the superhero The Flash lie dismembered on the floor. On the wall, heads of men drawn in pencil, corporate portrait style, melt into an orgiastic tableaux. Near them, two giant plaster cartoon-style moneybags sit filled with fake gold coins. On the opposite wall are six anguished small portraits of the artist on colored backgrounds.

    In the next room, an uncomfortable-looking Santa Claus sits in a tire swing with dried-up ivy coming out of his lap. Against the facing wall, a huge gray melting Buddha figure sits, topped with a flat picture of a red-haired, yellow-toothed young man's face. In the next room are some of Shaw's works that take their cues from advertising. Dozens of pencil-drawn men borrowed from menswear ads from the late '60s and early '70s are collected on a sheet of paper. On a surface that looks like venetian blinds, a couple frolicks in the surf with big, mysterious smiles (echoing those creepy Newport "Alive With Pleasure" ads) and on another, a blonde, tanned, white-bikinied woman looks troubled by the waves lapping at her.

    Jim Shaw  
    On another part of the wall are paintings of two vampire basketball players, one from Serbia and one from Croatia, standing in front of green backgrounds featuring strange vaginal forms. On the next wall is another portrait of Shaw; this one has no eyes or mouth, like a mask, and floats in a plastic box. One is almost tempted to break open the box and slip it on in an attempt to get inside the mind of this truly unique artist.

    MARCH 28, 2001

    Reader comments on Jim Shaw:

  • Never Fear, Bruce & Joan are here.   from Alexander Costello, Aug 3, 2002
  • art   from Constantin Severin, Oct 10, 2003
  • renseignememts   from , Apr 2, 2004
  • wooden diamonds   from christy heskett, Jun 10, 2007

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