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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    At the heart of Matthew Day Jackson's work is the belief that technology is the key to man's advancement – and at the same time his demise. In other words, scientific progress may promise entry to a utopian society, but it simultaneously unlocks the means to our end. In Gimme Shelter, 2009, Jackson focuses on post-World War II America and the acceleration of Cold War paranoia. While technology was allowing the average US citizen to prosper, it was also creating an underlying sense of impending doom; Jackson points up this duality and how the media plays upon it.
    The subject of Gimme Shelter is an appropriated cover of Life magazine from 12 January 1962, which warns readers about nuclear fallout and advises them of the measures to be taken to protect themselves in the event of a nuclear attack. The original image depicts a modern American city with citizens being ushered into community shelters, while the text – stating "New Facts You Must Know about Fall Out" – starkly emphasizes the climate of fear caused by nuclear proliferation and international standoffs. Jackson heightens this notion of technology as both progress and destruction by laser-etching Life's propaganda-like cover into black Formica, utilizing both a method and a material which were considered advancements in the 20th century. It is a powerful combination of appropriated message and medium, in which Jackson reflects darkly upon contemporary society and the portrayal of modern history.


Gimme Shelter #2

Laser cut formica, wood.
120 x 90 cm (47 x 35 1/2 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Matthew Day Jackson Gimme Shelter #2 2009' on the reverse.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010