Departure Idlewild, Stopover Borneo, Arrival Ape City

In 1999, Shag held Dial H for Hipster, his second solo exhibition featuring 22 new original works, including one of his all-time most popular works, Departure Idlewild, Stopover Borneo, Arrival Ape City.

Hipster, his first of many solo exhibits to come to Australia, has been one of his most diverse exhibits. His large centerpiece, Departure/Stopover/Arrival, was a large triptych consisting of three individual works each measuring 20 x 28 inches, and together measured more than seven feet wide. Departure/Stopover/Arrival was just as diverse as the exhibit itself. A 1960’s Boeing 707 airliner forms the overall jetsetting backdrop to each of the individually colored panels, threading the three very different scenes together as one giant suave, mysterious, exotic story.

Panel One, Departure Idlewild (blue) features a toasting pilot preparing for the flight at the front end of the aircraft while having one-too-many. A beehived babe in Sixties stylish glasses holds the leash of dressed monkey, who seems eager to share his corkscrew with the drunken pilot. Panel Two, Stopover Borneo (teal) features Borneo resident tiki gods, briefcases and witchdoctor staffs in hand, descending the stairs from the center of the aircraft, where a sleek attendant waits to the right with an oversized bottle of Moet Chandon champange (a common symbolism of overindulgence found in many Shag paintings). To the left of the stairs is a passenger holding his stomach with a look of frustration. Panel Three, Arrival Ape City (green) shows “defender of the faith” Dr. Zaius (from the Planet of the Apes series) standing in the foreground at the tail end of the plane, observing the transport of an ape idol on it’s way to Ape City.

Only a small percentage of Shag paintings are ever recreated as prints. Departure Idlewild, Stopover Borneo, Arrival Ape City was one of the first works Shag offered as a limited edition lithograph print, and today is one of the hardest to come by and also the most coveted. On Sept. 12, 2009, the original painting triptych set will be offered for sale by Billy Shire Fine Arts in Los Angeles as part of a rare exhibit offering classic Shag original paintings.

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