Shin Gallery charms and surprises with a motley collection

You may be wondering if you found a curiosity store upon entering the Shin Gallery Gallery 10th Anniversary Exhibition. The exhibit depicts the history of the gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and its collector’s wild but sly tendencies, with nearly 100 items filling three rooms.

The program, aptly named “Air”, creates sometimes brilliantly intuitive groups, such as a painting of a masturbating female figure by Egon Sheila combined with a mono-print on a pillow by Tracy Amin (who presented her own wild bed in 1999 in Tate, London). Elsewhere, the connections are strangely bizarre, as in Henry Moore’s sketch of crowded biomorphic fragments, “Ideas for Wood Sculpture” (1932), crammed between James Cassel’s childish composition of a character in front of a house and the “death” of French master François Butcher . of Meleager “(circa 1720), in black chalk, ink and washing on cream paper. It seems that a drawing of a baby bird by Bill Trailer (1939) in pencil on cardboard escapes the place, since the paintings occupying the first room hang mostly from frame to frame, which places masters besides strangers.

As I walked through this first room, I began to notice marginal examples of big names mixed with an eclectic variety of lesser known ones. Even when this is the case, as in Jackson Pollock’s Untitled Ink on Pink Paper (1951), combined with a 1958 painting of the London, Congo Zoo Chimpanzee, the combination is both playful and insightful.

The second room continues this specific conversation with a three-seater painted shelter bench, which may document Pollock’s only collaboration with Willem de Kooning in 1954, here attributed only to de Kooning. His widow, Elaine de Kooning, admitted it was done as a joke, painted before a croquet party in East Hampton.

On my first visit, I found in this second room Hong Gui Xin, who set up the gallery when he was 23 and still a college student. The space here is arranged as a simulation of the messy bedroom in his apartment, though, as he told me, much more orderly.

Sculptures dominate the piles of Artforum’s old magazines, catalogs and monographs. A showcase in the center of the room holds Chris Barden’s (1981) “Warship.” Next to it is “La Poupée” by Hans Belmer (1935), a painted aluminum statue of a double-breasted upper body; “Bug Linear” (1960) by Ligia Clark’s stainless steel, which looks like a folding jigsaw puzzle for kids too big; And a 1857 stone vessel jug by the enslaved African-American potter David Drake, who has just returned from the Theaster Gates exhibition in London. Shin later pointed to Man Ray’s (1946) chess system, arranged in the middle of the game, and remarked that it could be thought of as a collaboration between him, Ray, and artist Richard Tuttle who sat down to play during a recent visit.

Entering the third room, a cacophony of paintings, hanging from floor to ceiling, in a living room style, envelops the viewer. On my first visit, it was almost too much to take. Only on my second visit did I have what seemed like two competing thoughts. On the one hand, I wondered if I had ever been in a room with so many ugly or aggressive paintings. On the other hand, it was the most exciting painting room I have seen in at least a year.

It was like inhaling smelly salts. From bizarre figurative works and portraits (by Joshua Johnson and Thomas Aikins, Among other things) for a “painting” of frozen autumn leaves in anecoustic wax by Alan Sonfist. Two pieces of rotten charter rose scream from the walls, both by Beauford Delaney, hanging from each other wisely. There are also great works here, like a 1964 series of untitled monotypes by Brazilian artist Mira Chandel. Just below that is Korean painter Hyun Gion “Fire in My Brain” (2015), a revelation in acrylic, oil, charcoal and molten cloth. Fire in my brain, indeed, and that was exactly what I needed.

Merger: Celebrating 10 years of Shin Gallery

Until May 21 at Shin Gallery, 322 Grand Street, Manhattan. 212-375-1735;

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