I want there to be things in my work that people can access, but also hidden secrets.
—Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw - Thrift Store Paintings

Diverse paintings

Dimensions variable (about 400-500 works)

Private Collection Brussels 

With the care and dedication of a true collector, Jim Shaw has been collecting paintings by amateur artists for more than half a century now, purchasing them at thrift stores, flea markets, and online auctions – paying between $5 and $35 per canvas. This way, his diverse yet surprisingly coherent collection grows with a mixture of banal and absurd scenes. The Thrift Store Paintings fit within Shaw's interest in American popular culture, and his equal approach to both professional and non-professional cultural production. As extremely personal and idiosyncratic responses to life within the prevailing systems, and to the political climate, this collection depicts a hidden worldview, deviating from mainstream media and culture. It suggests the existence of a collective social, political and cultural unconscious in the United States of America.

“Everybody is always projecting their own psyche on to any art. Going through thrift stores or flea markets, you can psychoanalyse the culture in some way. I am looking for things that are about the subconscious drives of Americans or people in general.” – Jim Shaw