It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet

11 Apr-18 May 2024

Gagosian, Davies St.
London W1K 3DE


What is the scariest monster of all time? Us humans.
—Jim Shaw

Gagosian is pleased to announce It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet, Jim Shaw’s first exhibition at the gallery in London, opening at 17–19 Davies Street on April 11, 2024.

Shaw dives headlong into the maelstrom of American society in paintings, drawings, and sculptures inspired by comic books, pulp novels, album covers, and protest posters—as well as by amateur art. His works depict world events, pop-cultural phenomena, and alternative, quasi-mystical realities. Shaw has also turned to his own life—particularly his unconscious mind—as a source of surreal imagery.

In Never the Twain Shall Meet (2023), Shaw depicts a collision between, in his words, “a severely perky ad for TWA and a jingoistic editorial cartoon about how typical Americans are forced to uphold a backward world.” Unveiling (2023) derives from the artist’s interest in the aesthetics of cartoons and propaganda images from the era of his birth—a period during which print advertising exhibited a notable lack of self-awareness. Here, a Folies Bergère dancer assumes the status of earth goddess while characters by New Yorker cartoonist Richard Taylor populate the rest of the image.

Arrive Without Traveling (2023) depicts airplane passengers interrupted by a floating map of the United States emblazoned with a man’s forehead and shades. Seeming to promote some higher truth, it is actually, according to Shaw, derived from a magazine ad that illustrates a national shipping network.

An earlier work, Donald and Melania Trump descending the escalator into the 9th circle of hell reserved for traitors frozen in a sea of ice (2020) reworks the couple’s notorious New York photo op as a vision of the underworld while the “traitors” are ex-cronies of the former leader.

Shaw’s major solo exhibition The Ties That Bind is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, until May 19. His new sculpture The Split Fountain (2024) is included—along with ten new screen prints—in Janus, the inaugural exhibition at Palazzo Diedo, a new space for contemporary art established by Berggruen Arts & Culture in Venice, opening on April 19. Shaw’s permanent ceiling painting, The Alexander Romances (2024), which portrays characters encountered by Alexander the Great, will be on view at the same venue.