An iconic figure on the Californian art scene since the mid-1980s, Jim Shaw was born in Midland in 1952 and lives and works in Los Angeles. He trained at the University of Michigan and the California Institute of the Arts, graduating from the latter in 1978. Like his contemporaries Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, with whom he formed the influential punk band Destroy All Monsters, Jim Shaw sets out to produce art that explores the dark side of American society, which these three artists all saw as conformist and standardized, and even in decline.
In a series of parallel activities, all treated as equal, he practices dream drawing, collects amateur paintings, produces deformed visions of faces, and subverts Pop Art, which he sees as too smooth and homogenous. It all adds up to an experimental, disturbing and, usually, deliberately unaesthetic form of art. Shaw began to enjoy widespread institutional recognition in the late 1990s and has had a number of major exhibitions, the most recent being in Los Angeles (Marciano Art Foundation, 2017), North Adams (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 2015) and New York (New Museum, 2015). His works are collected by the world’s leading museums.
The Blood of Fafner, 2013
Acrylic on canvas
152.4 x 152.4 cm
Untitled (Beaver: George Bush is Telling Ronald Reagan…), 1993
Pencil on paper
43.2 x 35.6 cm
Untitled (Monster Face # 5), 2004
Acrylic, ink, oil and pencil on paper
124.5 x 88.9 cm