Artist in Focus

Jim Shaw

On Man Machines
7 - 28 July 2020
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The Man Machine paintings more-or-less began with my interest in hair as a source of power.  I had done a couple of large murals, one involving 1950s beehives and the other involving men’s facial hair of the 1890s both of which were contemporary versions of the wig that denoted power in the French and English past, and still does in England – it is the sign of a judge, for instance.  Eventually I started doing these paintings of pompous men from the 1890s with their facial hair and replaced their faces with things like machines – the Man Machine. 
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Official Portrait #5 (Jungle Cooper), 2018
Jim Shaw
Official Portrait #5 (Jungle Cooper), 2018
Acrylic on muslin
86.4 x 66 x 5.1 cm (34 x 26 x 2 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery
$ 45,000
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Official Portrait (Washing Machine), 2019
Jim Shaw
Official Portrait (Washing Machine), 2019
Acrylic on muslin
83.8 x 66 x 4.4 cm (33 x 26 x 1 3/4 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery
$ 45,000
The Man Machine is also like the big scary thing in the movie 'Metropolis', and I personally believe we are becoming that Man Machine as we become more and more embedded with our iPhones and our computers – so the scary thing has kind of come to pass.
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Anatomical Weird-Ohs with Mirrored Vacuum Cleaners, 2013
Jim Shaw
Anatomical Weird-Ohs with Mirrored Vacuum Cleaners, 2013
Pencil and gouache on paper
56.5 x 76.8 cm (22 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.)
$ 25,000
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Study for
Jim Shaw
Study for "The Djinn Of Convenience", 2018
Pencil on paper
61 x 48.3 cm (24 1/8 x 19 1/8 in.)
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery
$ 12,000
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Study for
Jim Shaw
Study for "Official Portrait #3 (Pillars of Society)", 2018
Pencil on paper
43.2 x 35.6 cm (17 x 14 in.)
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery
$ 9,000
At the same time, the paintings are also this image of masculine power from the past, which clings on to its power in the present.  The Man Machine paintings began with an installation at Frieze London in 2018, and they were in a sense meant to set the stage in that the entire room was covered with this gilded wall paper, which was redolent of the Victorian past, and that wall paper was made out of abstractions derived from caricatures I had drawn of Donald Trump, who again uses his hair as a form of power.
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Man-Machine (Quiet), 2018
Artwork: Jim Shaw, The Built In Twins, 2018
In most recent Man Machine pieces, one features a former president - I think Garfield - and his face has been replaced by a 1950s appliance with a cut-away view, a blender for making cakes and such.  Another is a sort-of pious religious man and I had to include the man’s eye or you would just not have seen the piousness of his look.  The third one is a very obese man and unfortunately his head is so small in reality that the large machine that replaces his head makes him seem less obese, but he is still a sprawling factory of a man.
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Blender Man, 2020
Jim Shaw
Blender Man, 2020
Acrylic on muslin
83.8 x 71.1 x 4.4 cm (33 x 28 x 1 3/4 in.)
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery
$ 45,000
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Religious Machine Man, 2020
Jim Shaw
Religious Machine Man, 2020
Acrylic on muslin
96.5 x 78.7 x 4.4 cm (38 x 31 x 1 3/4 in.)
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery
$ 50,000
Artwork: Jim Shaw, Obese Machine Man, 2020
Jim Shaw
Obese Machine Man, 2020
Acrylic on muslin
99.1 x 73.7 x 4.4 cm (39 x 29 x 1 3/4 in.)
Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery
$ 50,000
Selected Press

The Art Newspaper, How artists are adpating their work to virtual fairs and online viewing rooms, 2019

Spike Art Magazine, Portrait: Jim Shaw, The Cycle Rinse, 2019

BOMB Magazine, The Art Noise: JIm Shaw Interviewed by Osman Can Yerebakan, 2018

Frieze, 'I'll Know it When I See it': Artist Jim Shaw Explains his Frieze London Presentation, 2018

Frieze, Jim Shaw, Marciano Foundation, Los Angeles, USA, 2017

Art in America, Jim Shaw, 2016

About Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw was born in 1952, Midland, MI and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Recent solo exhibitions include Michigan Stories: Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, The Broad Art Museum at MSU, Michigan, MI (2018); Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA (2017); The End is Here, The New Museum, New York, NY (2016); Entertaining Doubts, MASS MoCA, West Adams, MA (2015); Jim Shaw, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2015); Jim Shaw: The Hidden World, Centre Dürrenmatt, Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2014) and Chalet Society, Paris, France (2013); Jim Shaw’s Dream Drawings, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA (2012); The Rinse Cycle, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2012) and Left Behind, CAPC, Musée de’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2010). In 2013 his work was included in The Encyclopedic Palace at The 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. His work is held in major institutions and private collections worldwide, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, amongst others.

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