Jim Shaw: Thinking the Unthinkable
This book was published on the occasion of Jim Shaw: Thinking the Unthinkable at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. It featured new paintings and sculpture in which imagery of Hollywood stars and Cold War–era politicians collides with mythology, symbols of psychedelic transformation, and the threat of atomic bombs. The exhibition’s title suggests the impossibility of comprehending one’s own consciousness while also referring to Herman Kahn’s 1962 book about nuclear war.
Fully illustrated with color plates and details, the catalogue reproduces more than thirty-five works together with an essay by Jessica Beck that tracks Shaw’s practice from 2015 to the present and explores his use of fantasy, myth, and magical thinking. It also includes an insightful conversation between the artist and novelist Rachel Kushner, as well as “Jim Shaw Kills,” a fictional piece, written by Jonathan Lethem in response to Shaw’s recent work, about a fantastical film starring the artist.