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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw: Thinking the Unthinkable

Jim Shaw’s debut exhibition with Gagosian “Thinking the Unthinkable” features a suite of new paintings, on view at the gallery’s space in Beverly Hills. Titled in homage to Herman Kahn’s 1962 Thinking About the Unthinkable, a book about nuclear war, Shaw’s paintings exist in a realm of psychedelia that is laden with motifs and imagery related to the publication (mushroom clouds, the egg, the pillar, the alphabet, and the ocean) along with other references, which includes the figure of the goddess, the history of psychedelics, and the deconstruction of Hollywood legends. The resulting works include imagery like Cary Grant, in which a portrait of the actor takes on an eerie surrealism depicting further visions of himself and exploding rockets painted atop his own face, and a beach scene that incorporates imagery of a mushroom cloud and a reimagining of The Birth of Venus, which the artist has titled No Bikini Atoll. Accompanying Shaw’s paintings are a series of three-dimensional creations that includes works like an inflatable cloud printed with mustaches, floating from the gallery’s ceiling, and a canvas bearing a 3D rendering of a particular fungus-shaped cloud.

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On view at Gagosian is “Iconic Avedon: A Centennial Celebration of Richard Avedon” (January 22-March 4) connecting the artist to Paris.
This month, on view January 10-February 28, Stanley Whitney debuts his painting Dear Paris (2023) at Gagosian.

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