07 May 2010
19 Sep 2010


CAPC, musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux

The exhibition will present for the first time about 15 monumental pictures that has been painted by the artist in the last decade, together with sculptures and a gigantic inflatable sculpture. It will also present for the first time the artist's collection of Christian objects making use of apocalyptic iconography.

From If Everybody had an Ocean. Brian Wilson, an exhibition (curated by Alex Farquharson), which took a fresh look at different art developments from the 1960s on through the prism of the life and music of the Beach Boys’ composer, to Insiders – Pratiques, usages, savoir-faire/Experience, Practices, Know-how,  an exhibition in the form of  an investigation into the links between contemporary artwork and folklore today, the CAPC musée d’art contemporain is continuing to delve into the realm of subculture with this solo show devoted to the artist Jim Shaw.

Painting, drawing, sculpture, video, installation and performance are all media used by this American artist since the late 1970s, helping him to put across an encyclopaedic and hectic vision. Jim Shaw is an atypical figure in California’s art circles, sharing with Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley the same desire to produce a visual body of work aimed at exploring the dark side of an American society that is conformist and standardized. Jim Shaw draws his inspiration from a vernacular culture on this side of the pigeonholes established by art history: pictures by amateur artists unearthed in bric-à-brac stores, popular cult objects, comics, rock music, B movies, etc.

After putting together a collection of more than 400 canvases by ‘visionary’ Sunday painters (Thrift Store Paintings),  and after drawing his dreams (Dreams) for more than ten years, since 2002 the artist has been involved with a project to do with inventing a religion which recycles the country’s ground-breaking myths and various crypto-sectarian American beliefs (Oism).

For his exhibition in Bordeaux, the artist will be showing his latest output, consisting of some fifteen monumental pictures accompanied by sculptures in the museum’s nave. In outmoded cityscapes from old theatre sets, the forms painted by the artist seem to float, apparition-like. Inspired by William Burroughs’s cut-up technique, Shaw here offers a vision of schizoid America, somewhere between dream and nightmare.  As an accumulation of moments of a personal history and bits and pieces of a collective cultural history, the heterogeneity of the illustrative sources is both surprising and intriguing: episodes from the artist’s life, iconic symbols of American culture, references from modern art history, biblical imagery, Hollywood imagery, political and media personalities, depictions of consumerism, visions of 9/11… To this is added their equally as disparate stylistic treatment, mixing different visual languages: modernist abstraction, cinematic hyperrealism, western imagery, and advertisements from the 1950s, along with a diagrammatic treatment of the comic strip and Hollywood movies. Distortion, fragmentation and multiplication all bolster the impression of deliquescence, and the sensation of a world that doesn’t make sense.

For several years now, fascinated as he is by millenarian movements preaching the end of the world, the artist has been collecting objects making use of apocalyptic iconography. This collection will be on view for the first time in the CAPC exhibition.

This is specific to the core aspect of the "Left Behind" series : as Jim Shaw said, it is about "the death of the labor movement due to Reaganism and globalization and their displacement by duped born again Christians, as well as the burial of the New Deal era small town capitalism, replaced by the casino capitalism of the 00s.”

The exhibition will open with a musical performance by the artist. Made up of vocal and instrumental improvisations, as well as popular folk tunes, the score will be performed by the artist and his group with instruments/sculptures devised to this end.


Provisory checklist of works (feb. 2010)

“Untitled (Fetus),” 2009
Inflatable balloon
Cord length: 26‘ (8 M)
Floor to tip of fetus head: = 15’ (4.5 M)
Floor to fetus' back = 23.9 (7.3 M)
Courtesy of I.A.S., Icon Art Services, Portugal

“Banyan Tree Mural,” 2010
Acrylic on muslin
16.4’ x 48.6’ (5 x 14.8 M)
Courtesy of Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris I Berlin

"Mini-mall", 2008
Acrylic on muslin 

9.2’ x 30.87’ (2.8 x 9.4 M)
Courtesy of Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris I Berlin

“Octopus Vacuum,” 2008 

Acrylic on canvas 

16’ x 23.5’ (4.89 x 7.2 M)
Courtesy of Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris I Berlin

“Ticker-tape Laocoon,” 2008
Acrylic on oil on canvas 

25’ x 24.4’ (7.62 x 7.44 M)
Courtesy of Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris I Berlin

“Pollock & Lollypop”, 2007
Acrylic on muslin
204” x 232-1/4” / 17’ x 20’
518 x 589 cm / 5.2 x 6.1 M
Shaw studio inventory #JS07.19
Private collection, Italy

"Montezuma’s Revenge," 2007 

Acrylic on muslin 

20’ x 37.3’ (6.1 x 11.4 M)
Courtesy of Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris I Berlin

"Dr. Goldfoot & His Bikini Bombs," 2007 

Acrylic on muslin & ceramic 

Mural: 11.9’ x 15.8’ (3.6 x 4.8 M)
Right ceramic feet: 11.75” x 27.75” x 10.75” (29.8 x 70.5 x 27 cm) 

Left ceramic feet: 13” x 27” x 10.5” (33 x 69 x 26.7 cm)
Private collection

"Dream Object (‘A later room contains murals of Dan Quayle glad handling rich white people at an art opening and now I’m 
Paul Drake (from ‘Perry Mason’) and a Sandy Duncan like 
woman gloms on to me. You’re supposed to put your portrait and 
recordings on a shelf and I try to fashion my self portrait out of a 
slice of bread, when someone tells me the Dan Quayle in the mural symbolizes me.’)" 


Acrylic on muslin and mixed media installation
Left mural: 13’ x 20.5’ (4 x 6.25 M)
Center mural: 13’ x 16.4’ (4 x 5 M)
Right mural: 13’ x 20.5’ (4 x 6.25 M)
Door: 30” x 1” x 80” (76.2 x 2.5 x 203.2 cm)
Shelf: 42-5/8” x 18-2/16” x 12.5” (108 x 46 x 31.8 cm)
Items for shelf: 12, Acrylic paintings on board, various dimensions, framed

"Dream Object (“Mike had maxed out his warehouse space & 
wanted to rent out some of mine but needed special city council 
permission. There was a gala opening but I had to crawl up this 
very steep bridge to get there. We talked about having sculptures 
with people talking inside them that would move around a bit with 
red light projected on them. The sculpture/costumes were a 
mixture of elements from Eduardo Paolozzi’s 60s machine 
pieces, Jean Benoit’s performance costumes, and monster 
costumes by Paul Blaisdell or Effects Unlimited.)" 


Mixed media sculptures

"The Miracle of Compound Interest", 2006 

9 components:
Exterior painted canvas backdrop: 23’ x 39’ (7 x 11.8 M)
Interior painted canvas backdrop: 9’- 9” x 17’ (2.9 x 5.2 M)
Interior floor: dimensions variable: mdf particleboard & acrylic paint.
(2) Crystal sculptures: 82” x 18” x 38” each (208 x 45.7 x 96.5 cm): Plexiglas, wood & backlight.
Kryptonite sculpture: 9” x 14” x 20” (22.8 x 35.5 x 51 cm): plastic & light.
(3) Gnome sculptures: dimensions variable: painted plastic & foam.

‘’The Woman in the Wilderness’’, 2005
Acrylic on oil cloth
945” x 180” / 78'-9" x 15'
2,400 x 457.2 cm / 24 x 4.6 Meters
MP inventory #162
Private collection, Italy

"Left Behind #3," 2005 

Acrylic on backdrop 

10'-49" x 23'-9" (3.2 x 7.3 M)
Private collection, France

"Dream Object (I dreamt of an image of a yellow…,)" 2004 

Acrylic on muslin 

22’ x 38’ (6.7 x 11.6 M)
Private collection, Italy

Selected Christian reference materials:

V.T. Houteff
Religious banners, 1932 - 1944
22-1/4” x 27-3/4” (56.5 x 70.5 cm)

“Religious Banner: The Question of Supremacy,”
unknown date
51-1/2” x 144” (131 x 365.7 cm)
Singed: J. Kennedy, Los Angeles

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Scorching Heat, 1953-1958
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2” (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Meteor Shower with Eclipse and Earthquake, 1953-1958
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2” (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Plague of Darkness with Boils, 1950  
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2”  (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Famine, 1953-1958
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2”  (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)
Published in the October, 1954 Plain Truth, and The Book of Revelation, Unveiled at Last, 1959

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Volcano and Waterspouts, 1953-1958
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2”  (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)

Basil Wolverton
Apocalypse: Mass Grave with Bulldozer, 1953-1958  
Ink on paper
14-1/2” x 20-1/2”  (36.8 x 52 cm)
Framed: 17-3/4” x 24-3/4” (45 x 62.8 cm)

Jim Shaw :
Born in Midland, Michigan in 1952
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

the Miracle of Compound Interes
the Miracle of Compound Interest
Montezuma's Revenge
Left Behind #3
Landscape with Money & Corndogs
Banyan Tree Backdrop Mura
Ticker-tape Laocoon
Ticker-tape Laocoon
Octopus Vacuum
Pollock & Lollypop

General information
CAPC musée d’art contemporain

Entrepôt 7 rue Ferrère F-33000 Bordeaux
tél. +33 (0)5 56 00 81 50

opening hours
11:00 – 18:00  everyday except Mondays
11:00 – 20:00  on Wednesdays

guided tours Saturdays & Sundays at 16:00

admission fees
full rate : 5 €
reduced rate : 2,50 €  

getting there
tram : line B, station CAPC ; line C station Jardin-public.
Car parks : Cité Mondiale, Quinconces & Jean-Jaurès

Find the complete cultural program on www.bordeaux.fr
Curator : Charlotte Laubard
Press contact
Julien Diers

3 rue de Turbigo 75001 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01