New York Design Gallery Hopping at Throckmorton Fine Art, R & Company, Wexler Gallery and Jason Jacques Gallery

By Benjamin Genocchio 

Spring shows abound in New York this month as art fairs tumble back onto the schedule. Here are our picks for four of the most interesting exhibitions in the art and design field to check out.

Throckmorton Fine Art  

Fritz Henle: Crossroads China and Japan 1934-36 

Through June 25

Top row left: Fritz Henle, Mt. Fuji, Japan, 1934-36, printed 1956. Gelatin silver print. Signed, titled and labeled on verso. Top row right: Fritz Henle, Umbrellas, Tokyo, Japan, 1934-36. Gelatin silver print. Signed, titled, labeled and stamped on verso. Bottom row left: Fritz Henle, Man with Riksha, Peking, China, 1934-36. Gelatin silver print. Signed, stamped and titled on verso. Bottom row right: Fritz Henle, The Great Wall of China, 1934-36. Gelatin silver print. Signed, titled, stamped and labeled on verso.

Throckmorton Fine Art is a well-known New York gallery specializing in premium quality antiquities from all over the world, but also increasingly in the past few years a sideline in historical black and white photographs, often depicting antiquities in situ, celebrating the splendor of cities and civilizations past.

Crossroads contains 45 photographs of China and Japan from 1934 to 36 by Fritz Henle, a German-born photographer with an omnivorous eye — and lifestyle. He traveled the world for decades taking images of everyone and everything he saw, and today is best known for his images of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Mexico. 

The images come from Henle’s personal archive. Most are unique, historical silver gelatin prints that have been carefully stored and preserved and are in immaculate condition for photographs that are almost a century old. These are one-off prints.

Henle captured what he saw with a gentle, discerning if honest eye unencumbered by any kind of political or social agenda. There is no judgment here, just the facts, faces and places he traveled through. The world he depicts is traditional, and peaceful, just before wars and mass industrialization began to change East Asia irrevocably.  

Especially endearing are his images of people, such as a Chinese Caravan Heading to Peking, Man and Sword, Man with Rickshaw, Peking, or Gatekeeper all taken around 1934-36 and printed with an unvarnished realism — the black tones are firm but not intense, creating soft contrasts and subtle greys that accentuate tiny facial features and details of clothing. The more you look, the more you are rewarded.

Throckmorton New York Art Gallery

145 East 57th Street

New York, NY 10022


R & Company  

California: Hun Chung Lee 

Jolie Ngo: Memory Palace 

Serban Ionescu: Castle Garden  

Through August 12

Top: Serban Ionescu, selection of works from Castle Garden, on view at R & Company. Photo by Joe Kramm, courtesy of R & Company. Bottom row left: Hun Chung Lee, Stools, 2021, glazed ceramic. Photography by Joe Kramm, courtesy of R & Company. Bottom row right: Jolie Ngo, selection of works from Memory Palace, on view at R & Company. Photo by Joe Kramm, courtesy of R & Company.   

The exhibitions currently on view at R & Company are, without exception, fabulous and testament to the visual power and joy of color in design. Though entirely different in scale, material and ambition, traditions in art and design meet the tensions of the present in the work of Hun Chung Lee, Jolie Ngo and Serban Ionescu. 

Ngo is one of the most talented young ceramic artists to emerge in decades. She is a recent graduate of Alfred University where she explored new technologies to create contemporary ceramic art. In particular, she uses 3-D printing technology to create a variety of futuristic forms which are then vibrantly decorated with blended colors to give them a distinct identity, and even personality. Ngo refers to her vessels as “memory palaces,” for they hark back to childhood recollections and cultural roots, but are also ciphers for thoughts or feelings in the present. This is conceptual design, where the ultimate goal is the realization of an idea. It is bold, thrilling, and brilliant.

Hun Chung Lee is having his first showing in New York in a decade. The work for this exhibition was produced in the artist’s Santa Monica studio, hence the title. Not only has the artist mastered complicated 15th-century Korean celadon glazing techniques, but he has managed to blend sculpture and design in a way that is both unusual and unique; functionality remains the goal, but in ways that demand attention from the viewer. His lamps and seats tend to be chunky, blocky forms dribbled in glazes and random patterns that resemble spillage. California-inspired color schemes amp it up.

Romanian-American artist Serban Ionescu’s first solo exhibition is a hit; a collection of fun, whimsical, colorful standing three-dimensional forms that look like the biomorphic shapes found in Hans Arp paintings, combined with more functional and identifiable objects such as a dining room table, cabinets, coat racks and chairs. By far the most impressive items here are the pavilions, sculptures that visitors can walk inside and around and which have no fixed purpose or identity. This is malleable design.

R & Company

64 White Street

New York, NY 10013


Wexler Gallery  

Botanica: Inspired by Nature 

Through August 31

Top row left and right: Andreea Avram Rusu, Botanica Chandelier, 2021. Glass, steel, leather, LED Bottom left: Patrick Weder, Kavrn Stool, 2021. Polished concrete, upholstery. Bottom right: Trish DeMasi, Veil, 2019. Glazed ceramic.

Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia is presenting a tightly integrated exhibition at its New York location on the 4th floor of the busy New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue. Titled Botanica: Inspired by Nature, it brings together the work of almost a dozen gallery artists inspired by nature and botanical themes, appropriate given the season, but also a fertile, timeless inspiration for great art and design.

The artists with work on display are Patrick Weder, Trish DeMasi, Edward McHugh, Gregory Nangle, Gulla Jonsdottir, Andy Paiko, Feyza Kemahlioglu, Stephen Shaheen and Reynold Rodriguez, all of whom merit attention, but the centerpiece of the show is an installation of dramatic, inventive chandeliers by Andreea Avram Rusu, an NYCxDESIGN Award finalist, including Botanica, 2021, made of glass, leather and polished steel.  

DeMasi’s botanical-inspired ceramics stand out in this show, especially for their fine floral decoration, unusual surfaces and edgy glazes, as does Jonsdottir’s Black Walnut Puzzle Table, 2019, in which puzzle blocks of walnut and bronze combine to create a chic, functional coffee table in sections that can be rearranged to create any form and suit any space. Other works of furniture on display are inventive, sensual and usable, reminding us there is no end to the inspiration nature can provide. 

Wexler Gallery at NYDC

200 Lexington Avenue, Suite 431

New York, NY 10016


Wexler Gallery

201 North 3rd Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106


Jason Jacques Gallery  

The London Group 

Through June 29th

Top row left: Works by Ursula Scheid, Margarete Schott & Gotilnd Weigel. Top row right: Works by Beate Kuhn & Karl Scheid. Bottom row left: Assortment of works by Karl & Ursula Scheid and Gerald Weigel. Bottom row right: Works by Karl Scheid and Gotlind Weigel. Images courtesy of the artists and Jason Jacques Gallery.    

Works by Beate Kuhn, Ursula and Karl Scheid, Margarete Schott and Gotlind and Gerald Weigel make up this astonishingly beautiful and worthy show, the first in the new Chelsea gallery of Jason Jacques. Though distinct, the group of ceramic artists here are all German and are often referred to as ‘The London Group’ after their collective participation in an important exhibition at London's Primavera Gallery in 1968, which is credited with bringing German studio ceramics to wider attention. 

Individually, these ceramics are marvelously minimal if sensual but together they make for a magical and cohesive show, an installation not to be missed by anyone interested in the medium of clay. Kuhn stands out especially, as she is one of the most important German ceramists of the Post-War era and famed for her biomorphic, rhythmical forms that have an attention to decorative detail. 

English studio potters were a clear influence on ‘The London Group’, in particular the work of Lucie Rie, Harry Davis and Bernard Leach, but they each forged their own paths. Schott experimented with rich glazes in multi-layered colors, while the Scheids had a bit more of an architectural approach to the medium and focused on wheel-turned, simple, refined shapes and forms. This show proves German ceramics deserve to be much better appreciated in the United States. 

Spring location through June 2022:

Jason Jacques Gallery

529 West 20th Street

New York, NY 10011