JIM SHAW Never the Twain Shall Meet, 2023 Oil and acrylic on muslin 48 x 60 inches (121.9 x 152.4 cm) © Jim Shaw Photo: Brica Wilcox Courtesy Gagosian

Gagosian To Exhibit New Paintings And Drawings By Jim Shaw In London

It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet, Opens on 11 April, Coinciding with Exhibitions in Antwerp and Venice.

Gagosian is pleased to announce It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet, Jim Shaw’s first exhibition at the gallery in London, opening at 17–19 Davies Street on 11 April, 2024.

Shaw dives headlong into the maelstrom of American society in paintings, drawings, and sculptures inspired by comic books, pulp novels, album covers, and protest posters—as well as by amateur art. His works depict world events, pop-cultural phenomena, and alternative, quasi-mystical realities. Shaw has also turned to his own life—particularly his unconscious mind—as a source of surreal imagery.

In Never the Twain Shall Meet (2023), Shaw depicts a collision between, in his words, “a severely perky ad for TWA and a jingoistic editorial cartoon about how typical Americans are forced to uphold a backward world.” Unveiling (2023) derives from the artist’s interest in the aesthetics of cartoons and propaganda images from the era of his birth—a period during which print advertising exhibited a notable lack of self-awareness. Here, a Folies Bergère dancer assumes the status of earth goddess while characters by New Yorker cartoonist Richard Taylor populate the rest of the image. Arrive Without Traveling (2023) depicts airplane passengers interrupted by a floating map of the United States emblazoned with a man’s forehead and shades. Seeming to promote some higher truth, it is actually, according to Shaw, derived from a magazine ad that illustrates a national shipping network.

JIM SHAW Arrive Without Traveling, 2023 Oil and acrylic on muslin 48 x 59 inches (121.9 x 149.9 cm) © Jim Shaw Photo: Matthew Kroening Courtesy Gagosian

An earlier work, Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020) reworks the couple’s notorious New York photo op as a vision of the underworld while the “traitors” are ex-cronies of the former leader. The reclining figure in The Damming of St. Lawrence (2018), meanwhile, represents the martyr who, while being roasted over a fire, supposedly asked his tormentors to turn him over. The men surrounding him, by contrast, trace their origins to a late-1960s Sears catalogue. The composition as a whole is derived from a classical painting of Saint Lawrence, with Niagara Falls representing the source of the St. Lawrence River and the entire flooded scene echoing the poster for the 1953 film noir Niagara.

Shaw’s major solo exhibition The Ties That Bind is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, until 19 May. His new sculpture The Split Fountain (2024) is included—along with ten new screen prints—in Janus, the inaugural exhibition at Palazzo Diedo, a new space for contemporary art established by Berggruen Arts & Culture in Venice, opening on 19 April. Shaw’s permanent ceiling painting, The Alexander Romances (2024), which portrays characters encountered by Alexander the Great, will be on view at the same venue.

Jim Shaw was born in 1952 in Midland, Michigan, and lives and works in Los Angeles. Collections include the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Colección Jumex, Mexico City; Musée national d’art moderne, Paris; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; and Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva. Exhibitions include Left Behind, CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2010); The Rinse Cycle, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2012–13); The Hidden World: Jim Shaw Didactic Art Collection with Jean-Frédéric Schnyder & Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Chalet Society, Paris (2013–14, traveled to Centre Dürrenmatt, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 2014); Entertaining Doubts, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2015–16); The End Is Here, New Museum, New York (2015–16); and Michigan Stories: Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2017–18).


It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet

Opening reception: Thursday, 11 April, 6–8pm

11 April–18 May, 2024
17–19 Davies Street, London