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Press Release

The Coffins of Paa Joe and The Pursuit of Happinness 

JUNE 8 - AUGUST 25, 2017

524 WEST 24TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10011

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness, an exhibition in two parts currently on view at The School (Kinderhook, NY) and the gallery’s 24th Street Chelsea location.

This exhibition approaches the making and collecting of art as a means of transcendence. It operates as an inspired temporal and cultural journey, punctuated by two distinct thematic groups. The first is a collection of Gold Coast slave castles by the Ghanaian artist Paa Joe and the second is a private collection of historic oil paintings. Together these groups bookend a visual essay across disparate time periods and geographies that probe existential mysteries such as mortality, divinity, self, purpose, and the universal human quest to understand the world in which we live.

The sculptures by Paa Joe were commissioned by the gallery’s late co-founder, Claude Simard, himself a voracious collector whose spirit infuses many of the unexpected objects on display throughout The School. Fashioned in the spirit of Ghanaian fantasy coffins, Paa Joe’s structures form a bridge between the material world and possibilities beyond impermanence.

This transcendental shift from the tangible to the metaphysical is the point of convergence for many of the works included in this exhibition. Inspired and devotional works, such as Hindu nāga, or serpent, drawings, Juan Sánchez Cotán’s Mannerist painting, Virgin of Silence, carved bateba figures of the West African Lobi, and Becky Suss’ contemporary painting In Memoriam (for Emily), acknowledge divinity and timelessness, faith and remembrance.

Juxtapositions of seemingly disparate works prompt unexpected conversation surrounding spirituality and the human condition, in both the past and present. Francisco Pacheco’s The Vocation of Saint Luis Gonzaga, depicting the young Jesuit priest who cared for plague victims in the 16th century and later died from the disease, hangs adjacent to a contemporary wall relief by Beverly Fishman, Untitled (ADHD / Opiod Cocktail), which explores today’s drug industry and America’s dependency on pills. In another area of the gallery, Kerry James Marshall’s Souvenir drawings, dedicated to cultural figures and Civil Rights leaders who died in the 1960s, faces the Rococo painting by Juan Ruiz Soriano, which portrays the coronation of Saint Gertrude, best known for her writing The Herald of Divine Love.

Several contemporary artists made works directly in response to the historic paintings. Titus Kaphar’s Menina, is an imagined image of the dark skinned child allegedly born from a secret affair between an African dwarf attendant and The Queen of France, Maria Teresa, whose portrait, from the circle of Diego Velazquez, hangs next to it. Toyin Ojih Odutola’s self-portrait, The Apostle (Jiji ewa), contemplates belief and doubt in contrast to the unquestioned loyalty of Maestro de Becerril’s 16th century portrait of Saint Andrés.

This diverse collection of works and objects reflects the wide-ranging influences that guide the gallery’s program

Concurrently on view this summer through September 24, 2017, is If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day: Collections of Claude Simard at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, which presents a parallel exhibition from the collection of the gallery’s late co-founder. Acquired both abroad and from within the United States, the diversity of the works spans an extensive range of medium and subject matter.The School is open on Saturdays from 11am to 6pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at theschool@jackshainman.com.

INCLUDING WORKS BY THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS ACROSS BOTH VENUES:

NINA CHANEL ABNEY

JOHN AHEARN

DAVID ALTMEJD

EL ANATSUI

PHILIP KWAME APAGYA

RON ARAD

STUART ARENDS

RADCLIFFE BAILEY

MATTHEW BARNEY

TIM BAVINGTON

MAX BECKMANN

HUMA BHABHA

DANIEL BUREN

EUGENIO CAJÉS

YOAN CAPOTE

CARLO CARRÀ

WILLIAM CARROLL

NICK CAVE

SAINT CLAIR CEMIN

GEOFFREY CHADSEY

CHHOTU

JUAN SÁNCHEZ COTÁN

J.H. COY

WILLEM DE KOONING

DIEGO DE LA CRUZ

SEBASTIÁN DE LLANOS Y VALDÉS

CRISTÓBAL DE MORALES

RODRIGO DE VILLANDRANDO

CIRCLE OF FRANCISCO DE ZURBARÁN

GEORGE DE BORUM

BEAUFORD DELANEY

ANDRÉ DERAIN

JIMMY DESANA

LIZ DESCHENES

PIERRE DORION

MOIRA DRYER

MAX ERNST

WALKER EVANS

PATERSON EWEN

BOB FAUST

JOEL FISHER

BEVERLY FISHMAN

SAMUEL FOSSO

AARON FOWLER

TILL FREIWALD

TOM FRIEDMAN

PAUL GAUGUIN

JEAN-PIERRE GAUTHIER

NAN GOLDIN

GEORGE GROSZ

ALAN GUTIERREZ

CHRISTOPHER HANRAHAN

BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS

ARTURO HERRERA

DAVID HOCKNEY

ZHANG HUAN

ALFREDO JAAR

PAA JOE

HAYV KAHRAMAN

ANTON KANNEMEYER

TITUS KAPHAR

JEREMY JOHN KAPLAN

MARGARET KILGALLEN

JACK N. KRAMER

LYNE LAPOINTE & MARTHA FLEMING

CHARLES LEDRAY

SHERRIE LEVINE

MICAH LEXIER

DEBORAH LUSTER

KERRY JAMES MARSHALL

ROBERTO MATTA

ENRIQUE MARTÍNEZ CELAYA

SIBUSISO MBHELE

MCDERMOTT AND MCGOUGH

BARRY MCGEE

ANNETTE MESSAGER

GEORGE MEYERRIECKS

JOHN MORRA

RICHARD MOSSE

ADI NES

JACKIE NICKERSON

TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA

ALFONSO OSSORIO

FRANCISCO PACHECO

RICHARD PHILLIPS

FRANCIS PICABIA

JACK PIERSON

MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO

MAN RAY

AD REINHARDT

DEBORAH REMINGTON

MILTON RESNICK

STERLING RUBY

ROSS RUDEL

ED RUSCHA

COLLIER SCHORR

CLAUDETTE SCHREUDERS

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA

ANDRES SERRANO

MALICK SIDIBÉ

CLAUDE SIMARD

AARON SISKIND

PAUL ANTHONY SMITH

ROBERT SMITHSON

SUSANA SOLANO

JUAN RUIZ SORIANO

Y.G. SRIMATI

DAMIAN STAMER

LINDA STARK

BECKY SUSS

MARK DI SUVERO

PHILIP TAAFFE

STEED TAYLOR

ROBERT THERRIEN

MICKALENE THOMAS

GEORGE TICE

WOLFGANG TILLMANS

CLAUDE TOUSIGNANT

CARLOS VEGA

CIRCLE OF DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ

SIEBREN VERSTEEG

ARTHUR VILLENEUVE

JACQUES VILLON

ANDY WARHOL

CARRIE MAE WEEMS

HANK WILLIS THOMAS

LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE

NAHUM B. ZENIL

AND OTHERS