September 13, 2002 - Swiss Institute - Jim Shaw: The Goodman Image File and Study
September 13, 2002

Jim Shaw: The Goodman Image File and Study

Jim Shaw
The Goodman Image File and Study

with Maria Marshall in the Lounge and Erik Parker in the Lobby
September 14 – October 26, 2002

495 Broadway, 3rd floor
 New York, NY 10012
 New York, NY 10012

Jim Shaw, 2002

Opening, Saturday September 14, 6 – 8 PM




Born in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York in the mid-1800s, O-ism‘s beliefs included the notion of a female deity, of time going backwards, of spiritual transience, and a prohibition on figurative art. -J.S.

Jim Shaw’s recent work has focused on inventing a new, pseudo-religion, O-ism. Conceived as being founded contemporaneously with Mormonism, Shaw’s O-ism centers around an unnamable goddess, referred to only by an O. For the SI, Shaw presents the work of an O-ist painter, Adam O. Goodman, whose mature work attempted to wed the mythic iconic essence of late modernism to the demands of his spiritual beliefs. A fictional historical tableau, The Goodman Image File and Study will represent the conceptualization of the iconoclastic controversy within this pseudo-religion. Shaw will transform the SI into the imagined studio of a painter torn between the mythical purity of abstraction and the profanity of the representational image.

Seven circular, large-scale, color-field paintings will hang on the walls surrounding a seven-sided circular complex of drawers. Filed away in the cabinets will be the O-ist’s massive image file, an obsessively ordered compendium of decadent, kitch images from the popular press. His modernist paintings, unrecognised during his lifetime, left Goodman with no choice but to toil, secretly, in the lower levels of the commercial arts. The files were created to aid his work as an illustrator, which he executed under the psuedonym Archie Gunn, thus hiding his figurative work from both his artist peers and fellow O-ists. Cloaked in American mythology both of its puritanical religions and of the painters of the New York School, this exhibition follows Jim Shaw’s inventiveness through another investigation into the idea of the American artist.

Jim Shaw’s exhibition at the Swiss Institute-Contemporary Art will open on September 14, which will coincide with the receptions for the autumn exhibitions of all the Downtown Not-For-Profit Art Spaces. Also this autumn, Metropictures Gallery will show a suite of Jim Shaw’s O-ist Thrift Store Paintings.

In the lounge, the SI will present video work by up-and-coming British artist MARIA MARSHALL. Concurrently with her solo show at the Team Gallery in Chelsea, the SI will present the video work Put Medication in his Pocket.

Influenced by Rorschach drawings, genealogical charts and graffiti, New York-based German painter, ERIK PARKER will make a special project, for the SI’s lobby at 495 Broadway.

Swiss Institute
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