Los Angeles

Jim Shaw

Dennis Anderson Gallery

Jim Shaw’s show here contained some of the most obsessive, darkly imaginative, funny, and painful work that has stared back at this viewer from any wall in a long time. Consisting of more than 70 pieces of uniform, pagelike size, all hung at eye level, the installation formed a continuous ring around the room, surrounding and trapping visitors. The wide variety of volatile images seemed distilled from inflamed fears, wracked attractions and repulsions—a catalog of conflicting longings and repressions dating from adolescence and beyond. The experience was a little like being swallowed by a whale, but instead of being confronted by the great creature’s digestive system, viewers were engulfed by the juices of the artist’s psyche. Each piece is a unique and unsettlingly accurate send-up of/shrine to some pretty squirmy areas; religious terror, sexual guilt, desire, confusion; the lure of drugs,

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