Jim Shaw - New Now London Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Metro Pictures, New York
    Phillips, New York, 19 September 2013, lot 234
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "..My misinterpretations would give a more mythic quality than the 'intended' meanings. Like misunderstood song lyrics, as a kid, my interpretations of them meant more to me than a normal reading." - J. Shaw, “Here Comes Everybody: A Conversation Between Jim Shaw and Mike Kelley,” Jim Shaw: Everything Must Go, Luxembourg, 1999, n.p

    More radical than a standard caricature yet subtle in its rendering, Jim Shaw’s Untitled belongs to the artist’s admired series of Distorted Faces that encompasses large-scale oil paintings as well as works on paper, depicting wrenched and deformed celebrities, politicians, art world friends – such as Mike Kelley - and anonymous people. Paralleling the Beatnik author William Burroughs’ “cut-up technique” consisting in deconstruction and resemblance of texts, in 1978 Shaw began producing detailed portraits focused on the subjects face by twisting, altering and stretching individual components of it to the point that they become almost monstrous creatures, yet somehow preserve discernible traits of their original identities. Untitled also draws inspiration from the artist’s professional experience working on the special effects of horror films and evokes the covers of magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland that the artist used to collect during his childhood. Combining this with a strong post-Pop ethos, Untitled reflects Shaw’s crucial aim of undermining the American culture through misinterpreting its myths.



inscribed 'J581049 Y' on the reverse
airbrush and pencil on paper
34.9 x 27.3 cm (13 3/4 x 10 3/4 in.)
Executed in 1981.

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £10,000

Contact Specialist
Simon Tovey
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 8 December 2016