At Mass MOCA, Jim Shaw Revisits the Old Standards for Art

THE DAILY PIC: The California artist presents "corrected" works by his father.

Jim Shaw: Entertaining Doubts

THE DAILY PIC (#1361): This image is from the Jim Shaw exhibition now at Mass MOCA, in North Adams, MA, but it’s not quite by Shaw. Its bottom layer, in black, is a drawing by Shaw’s father, submitted in the 1950s as an assignment to the Famous Artists School Mail-In Correspondence Course, an institution supported by the likes of Norman Rockwell. The top sheet of tracing paper has the “corrections” to that drawing, done in red, suggested by a teacher at the school. The combination yields a stylish, retro palimpsest that does fine duty as a work of (found) contemporary art by Shaw Jr.

But what really interests me about the piece is how it records possibly the last moment in our visual culture when old-fashioned standards of “correct” art, even in a commercial context, made sense to anyone involved. Today, old man Shaw’s “errors” might very well be seen as better than the corrections layered over them.

I call that progress.

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In