David Shrigley

Anton Kern Gallery

The phrase “I’ve had a brilliant idea” might seem like a flash of ego, especially when inked over a picture of an electrical power station rather than above the more traditional lightbulb. But taken in the context of the sixty works (all but one 2002) in David Shrigley’s first solo show in New York, this altered photo read more as acknowledgment that the artist’s ideas are neither rare nor precious but a constant source from which he churns out drawings, books, sculptures, photos, and public interventions.

Shrigley’s drawings and texts show no signs of formal art training, though he attended the Glasgow School of Art. Deliberately abject, primitive, and lowtech, his work is, if not childlike, certainly stuff that a child could make. That doesn’t make him a nouveau Dubuffet, however, absorbing “outsider” techniques into a faux-naïf style. Instead, reveling in human foibles and revealing a

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