What the Hell Are You Doing?: The Essential David Shrigley

Overview

"Weird, funny, abject, wise, silly, savage, moral, and engaging."—The Independent (London)
By turns hilarious, satirical, and brilliant, David Shrigley's full-page illustrations—a combination of drawing, comics, photography, and sculpture—are sui generis: uproariously funny, pleasantly unnerving, and, most of all, really, really cool. Neither "graphic novel" nor "art book," What the Hell Are You Doing? celebrates the surreal world of the artist who created Ants Have Sex in Your Beer and To Make the Meringue You ...

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Overview

"Weird, funny, abject, wise, silly, savage, moral, and engaging."—The Independent (London)
By turns hilarious, satirical, and brilliant, David Shrigley's full-page illustrations—a combination of drawing, comics, photography, and sculpture—are sui generis: uproariously funny, pleasantly unnerving, and, most of all, really, really cool. Neither "graphic novel" nor "art book," What the Hell Are You Doing? celebrates the surreal world of the artist who created Ants Have Sex in Your Beer and To Make the Meringue You Must Beat the Egg Whites Until They Look Like This—the man Dave Eggers calls "probably the funniest gallery-type artist who ever lived."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The “gallery-type” comic art of acclaimed fine artist Shrigley, deceptively simple yet mind-blowing in its seditiousness and perspective-altering lexicography, goes where many have ventured: Saul Steinberg, Raymond Pettibon, William Powhida, and Maira Kalman among them. These artists all use text, not as a design element but for the value of text itself. Sometimes, the text integrates into a drawing or a photograph, sometimes not. Shrigley takes the idea the furthest, proving that it isn’t language that determines consciousness but the other way around. It’s impossible to leaf through this compilation and not emerge with the sense that some latent intellectual and emotional block, born of dread, has been at least partially lifted through a process akin to extreme mixed-media homeopathy. The variegated works showcased, from a Venn diagram presenting all the possible logical articulations of various behaviors (singing, dancing, stealing) to decapitated taxidermy (a cat, an ostrich), and dementedly funny sketches and panels drawn in Shrigley’s signature childlike style (for example, a cloaked executioner taking his/her dog for a walk after a successful slaying, and a boring bus ride) possess both an inherent dadaist quality and a strong sociopolitical subtext. Taken cumulatively, Shrigley’s comic illustrations and words have the effect of a miraculous mental booster drug. (Oct.)
Black Book
“At once skillfully crafted and playfully satirical....[Shrigley is] a master of quirk….What the Hell Are You Doing [is] filled with even more of his idiosyncratic genius.”
Flavorpill
With his text-heavy, inked figures and mordant sensibility, David Shrigley could be reductively described as the British Raymond Pettibon. But Shrigley’s use of outside-art non-technique can radiate a lovable coyness as much as it does caustic bite….His new visual-art compilation, What the Hell Are You Doing?...functions well as both introduction and encapsulation of Shrigley’s wonderfully askew faux-naïve vision.— Stephen Gossett
Flavorwire
“The work of David Shrigley is sort of everything you could ever ask from scratchy line drawings, and a whole lot more….It’s weird and spastic, and uncomfortable, and savage, and profound, and somehow tender, behind all that.”
The Rumpus
It is useless, attempting to categorize David Shrigley as an artist. His work has a free and easy feel, a rough-draft quality reinforced by his imprecise lines and habit of marking textual errors in finished pieces….Shrigley’s work is by turns playful, caustic, and grotesque—even, at times, incisive—but each of these distinct tones comes across as genuine.— John McIntyre
Largehearted Boy
“Shrigley’s work is hard to peg down….It’s simple yet brilliant. But one thing that is always consistent—Shrigley’s stuff is always hilarious.”
Flavorpill - Stephen Gossett
“With his text-heavy, inked figures and mordant sensibility, David Shrigley could be reductively described as the British Raymond Pettibon. But Shrigley’s use of outside-art non-technique can radiate a lovable coyness as much as it does caustic bite….His new visual-art compilation, What the Hell Are You Doing?...functions well as both introduction and encapsulation of Shrigley’s wonderfully askew faux-naïve vision.”
The Rumpus - John McIntyre
“It is useless, attempting to categorize David Shrigley as an artist. His work has a free and easy feel, a rough-draft quality reinforced by his imprecise lines and habit of marking textual errors in finished pieces….Shrigley’s work is by turns playful, caustic, and grotesque—even, at times, incisive—but each of these distinct tones comes across as genuine.”
Miranda July
“With a casual gesture Shrigley points to that hideous shape whose name I've never known-and then he names it. . . . I'm laughing while frantically searching for a pen, so desperate to capture the feeling he has unearthed in me.”
New York Times - Dwight Garner
“This year's best gift book, for a crazy person you really, really like.... It's a funny, sick, morally stimulating mind-bender, the best bathroom book of the new decade.”
Chicago Pipeline
“Shrigley’s bold-lined drawings which at first may appear like crude Sharpie doodles, are intentionally heavy-handed and display the artist’s observations on what is a crude world. Often laugh-out-loud hilarious and occasionally mildly disturbing...”
Stephen Gossett - Flavorpill
“With his text-heavy, inked figures and mordant sensibility, David Shrigley could be reductively described as the British Raymond Pettibon. But Shrigley’s use of outside-art non-technique can radiate a lovable coyness as much as it does caustic bite….His new visual-art compilation, What the Hell Are You Doing?...functions well as both introduction and encapsulation of Shrigley’s wonderfully askew faux-naive vision.”
John McIntyre - The Rumpus
“It is useless, attempting to categorize David Shrigley as an artist. His work has a free and easy feel, a rough-draft quality reinforced by his imprecise lines and habit of marking textual errors in finished pieces….Shrigley’s work is by turns playful, caustic, and grotesque—even, at times, incisive—but each of these distinct tones comes across as genuine.”
Dwight Garner - New York Times
“This year's best gift book, for a crazy person you really, really like.... It's a funny, sick, morally stimulating mind-bender, the best bathroom book of the new decade.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393082470
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/24/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 632,693
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

David Shrigley has worked as a sculptor, photographer, cartoonist, author, and illustrator, and has shown work in London's Tate Gallery and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has directed animated music videos for such artists as Blur and Bonnie Prince Billy. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.

Will Self (b. 1961) is an English novelist and journalist. His Independent column of offbeat walking tours, “Psychogeography,” has been collected into an eponymously titled book.

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