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Jean Shin's Accumulations of Ephemera
by Brooke Kamin Rapaport

Jean Shin is a collector, but not of high-end art or antique furniture. Instead, she combs the streets of New York City for objects culled from the detritus of daily life. She claimed curbside refuse—the metal frames and synthetic fabric hoods of cheap umbrellas—to create Umbrella Stripped Bare, a 2001 installation at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, and Penumbra (2003), a soaring project at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. In Glass Block (2003), she built a wall of emptied wine bottles whose shades of green created a mosaic. And she hoarded thousands of dollars worth of lottery tickets to construct a geometric metropolis in her 2004 Brooklyn Museum project, Chance City. Shin has also solicited clothing donations: pant cuffs, ties, shoe soles, and shirt seams have all found a place in her roster of materials. More recently, she has turned to consumer surplus such as computer key caps and eyeglasses. Sound Wave (2007), at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, uses hundreds of old records to form a black wave cresting over the lobby floor. Duplication of form—vast numbers of umbrella skins, layers of neckties, myriad trouser legs, stacks of tired LPs—distinguishes Shin’s works from others employing quotidian supplies. Through repetition, Shin straddles Minimalism, feminism, and installation to create surprisingly, stridently formal sculpture imbued with personal recollection.

 


Chance City, 2004. Discarded lottery tickets
(value $21,496), 6 x 8 x 8 ft.


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