Ten years ago, at just 23 years old, Hong Gyu Shin established Shin Gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Something of a collecting prodigy, he had started acquiring notable works at the age of 13, taking specific interest in rediscovered or marginalized artists. Over the years, Shin has grown his gallery from a small one-room space to an airy three-room gallery with an additional basement area for up-and-coming artists, which he calls “Shin Haus”.
To celebrate a decade in business, Shin Gallery is hosting Amalgamations (until 23 April), which, in keeping with the gallery's ethos, consists of works by both overlooked and renowned historical artists alongside the younger or emerging artists the gallery represents. In total 100 artists spanning multiple eras are included in the show. It is a curatorial choice that reflects Shin’s eclectic interests, but also in keeping with the current market, which has seen 20th- and 21st-century works merged in new hybrid auction categories adapted to the changing and more omnivorous tastes of a new generation of collectors.
“My decision to combine artists which have historically been treated disparately means seeing these artists and artworks as inherently related, in communication with one another,” Shin says of his curatorial approach. “Neither my taste in art nor my curatorial decisions follow fads, I showcase artworks that will endure beyond any trends.”
Despite the diverse character of the show, there are through-lines from one room to the next. The front room gives pride of place to a collection of small works ranging from the delicate eros of Egon Schiele and the soft pastel palette of Ernest Mancoba to raw, gestural marks by Elaine de Kooning. Through the doorway into the second room is an installation of Shin’s personal letters from notable artists, candid photographs, art books and mementos scattered among works by Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring, Marcel Duchamp and Arshile Gorky—all of which have been borrowed from the gallerist's home. A 19th-century chess table with pieces by Man Ray, on which Shin is known to play with visiting collectors and artists, sits atop an antique rug, offering a taste of the young dealer and collector's domestic life.
The final room is an eclectic mix of large-scale paintings hung salon style, or floor-to-ceiling. Here, a work by Italian abstractionist Carla Prina is positioned alongside a portrait by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, across from a graffiti-inspired piece by South Bronx native Kool Koor. Adjacent to them are vibrant works by Peyton Freiman and Andreas Emenius, both of whom are on Shin’s artist roster.
Asked what will be on tap for Shin Gallery's second decade, the gallerist says, “I am very confident that I will continue discovering young artists and re-discovering forgotten or overlooked artists. I hope that, in doing so, I will contribute something important to both the community and art history at large.”
- Amalgamation, until 23 April, at Shin Gallery