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THRIFT STORE PAINTINGS, edited by Jim Shaw (Heavy Industry Publications, P.O. Box 85428, Hollywood, CA 90072; $29.95, cloth, $19.95, paper).

December 30, 1990|Christopher Knight

As nothing is more bizarre than the ordinary artifact closely observed, this full-color catalogue of 201 paintings by amateurs and hobbyists shoots to the top of the charts of estimably odd coffee-table art books. Conceived and designed by artist Jim Shaw and published by artist Edward Ruscha, the riveting volume is all pictures, no text--save for the purely descriptive titles given to the paintings. "Indian Maidens Frolic in Bikinis," "Man and Woman Emerge From Egg in Seascape" and the ever-popular "Wolves Attacking Steer Carcass on Snowy Night" are among the subjects these vernacular artists felt they simply had to paint; these pictures were then snapped up by Shaw and other collectors at the salon des refuses of suburban American culture--the neighborhood thrift store. And you thought modern art was strange.

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