Shop > Catalogues

Out of Stock

My Mirage

Jim Shaw
JRP / Ringier Kunstverlag
20 × 26 × 1.5 cm

“My Mirage” (1986-1991) is the first major body of work by Jim Shaw (*1952), an artist from Los Angeles who started exhibiting in the late 1970s. Composed of nearly 170 pieces—each one drawn, silk-screened, photographed, sculpted, filmed or painted in a different style—“My Mirage” recounts the wandering of Billy, a white, middle-class American sucked into the whirlwind of the 1960s and 1970s. His is a story of unceasing failure. After an anxious childhood, Billy later withdraws from the guilt-wracked spasms of adolescence in order to lose himself in a psychedelic utopia, which soon becomes a nightmare. In the depth of psychotic hallucinations, he follows a woman who he worships into a pagan sect, before finally returning to the religion of his youth, “reborn” as a fundamentalist Christian. Each piece appropriates an image taken from an extremely broad iconographic field ranging from children’s book to contemporary art and including comics, religious literature, and psychedelic posters. As a narrative, “My Mirage” is structured like a “Bildungsroman,” with successive chapters structuring the various, gradual mutations of Billy. This narrative appears and disappears, like a mirage, according to the distance of the observer, depending on whether one considers Shaw’s image to be aggregate of heterogeneous source, moments of a personal history, or fragments of a collective cultural history. Hence while creating a quasi-encyclopedic compendium of American vernacular iconography (which includes a page from a high-school yearbook, a thrift store painting, countless grass-root, counter-culture graphic designs, as well as late 1970s neo-Christian propaganda), “My Mirage” thus provides a social and cultural image of an individual in the 1960s and 1970s and, moreover, produces a sharp analysis of the evolution of the subject through the cultural and social history of that era.

From the onset of the series, “My Mirage” has been constructed with the idea of the book as model. Not only does the overarching narrative takes the form of a coming of age novel, but many of the individual pieces make direct reference to a book format. Created in close collaboration with Jim Shaw, the book thus presents itself as the culmination of the artist’s original project. “My Mirage—The Book” will allow Jim Shaw’s ever-growing audience to look at the whole of Billy’s story for the first time. Furthermore, its format and content should appeal to a wide readership, beyond contemporary art, which includes anyone interested in the history of the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, American graphic design and popular illustration.

  1. My Mirage

Related Items

  1. Jim Shaw: The Wig Museum
  2. Jim Shaw: Horror A Vacui
  3. Igor Zabel: Contemporary Art Theory
  4. Paul McCarthy: Rebel Dabble Babble
  5. Eric Metcalfe: Laura
  6. AA Bronson and Peter Hobbs: Queer Spirits
  7. A Man Walks into a Bar...
  8. Andrew Dadson: Visible Heavens from 1850 - 2008
  9. Cranfield and Slade: 12 Sun Songs
  10. On Kawara - Silence
  11. Peter Fischli and David Weiss: Peter Fischli & David Weiss: Plötzlich diese Übersicht
  12. Bernadette Corporation: The Complete Poem
  13. Art School {dismissed}
  14. Young Scandinavian Artists
  15. The Present Tense Through the Ages: On the Recent Work of Gerard Byrne
  16. X-TRA Vol. 18 No. 4
  17. Ian Wallace: The First documenta, 1955
  18. Emily Jacir & Susan Buck-Morss
  19. György Lukács

Notes on Georg Simmel’s Lessons, 1906/07, and on a “Sociology of Art,“ c. 1909
  20. Erkki Kurenniemi
  21. Christoph Menke: Aesthetics of Equality
  22. Jalal Toufic: Reading, Rewriting Poe’s “The Oval Portrait“
  23. G.M. Tamás: Innocent Power
  24. Paul Ryan: Two Is Not a Number

A Conversation with Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri
  25. Péter György: The Two Kassels:

Same Time, Another Space
  26. Kenneth Goldsmith: Letter to Bettina Funcke
  27. David Robbins: Concrete Comedy: An Alternative History of Twentieth-Century Comedy
  28. Angela Bulloch: Source Book 10
  29. Source Book 5 / 2008 Geoffrey Farmer
  30. Making Art Global, Part 1

The Third Havana Biennial 1989
  31. Parkett No. 91
  32. Image Counter Image
  33. Animal Spirits
  34. The New Public
  35. Michael Hardt: The Procedures of Love / Die Verfahren der Liebe
  36. It is what it is. Or is it?
  37. Lawrence Weiner: THE GRACE OF A GESTURE
  38. Jon Beacham: The Brother in Elysium - Artwork and Publications 2008-2013