Abandoned Shinders store inspires art exhibition


Shinders storefront

Photograph by Matthew Bakkom

Earlier this month I interviewed Matthew Bakkom about his installation “Strange Victory” at Chambers Hotel on Hennepin Avenue. While his own show was opening, Bakkom was simultaneously jumping through some bureaucratic hoops, getting permission to install a group show just two blocks down the street, at the old Shinders magazine store.

Bakkom pitched the group show as a companion piece to his exhibition at Chambers, and was able to garner the hotel’s support for the project. Now, for a limited time, 36 artists are on display in the abandoned building. The artists range from MFA students to established national names (e.g. photographer Alec Soth). Some of the work they had on hand and thought fit nicely in the space, but many created original works inspired by the decaying interior.


Cameron Gainer, Cremation/Creation, Neon

Photograph by Matthew Bakkom

The unheated, musty, less-than-watertight building is a far cry from the pristine white walls that serve as backdrop in most galleries. But what the Shinders has that many galleries do not is a real presence. David Bartley took advantage of a cramped corner to create a clostrophobic piece featuring stuffed rubber gloves and eerie lighting that would make any man over 45 think twice about making his next doctor appointment.


David Bartley, The Yellow Light, mixed media installation

Photograph by Matthew Bakkom

Bakkom was inspired to use the space in part by his long-time love affair with Hennepin Avenue. He loves the idea of revitalizing the main drag and making it a mecca for the local art scene.

“Hennepin Avenue has such history,” said Bakkom. ” It’s a landmark for the city that holds so many personal memories for me and public memories for all of us. Having a show here somehow connects you to all of that.”

Bakkom says it’s one thing to find an abandoned warehouse in an out-of-the-way neighborhood, but to have a two story building with large windows facing out onto a major city artery is another artistic opportunity entirely.


Alexa Horochowski, Ships, chromed

Photograph by Matthew Bakkom

The space allows for some lovely artistic surprises. Making their way to the second story, visitors first catch sight of Alexa Horochowski’s chrome plated ships at eye level, halfway up the staircase. The effect is that of catching sight of ships on the distant horizon, even though these are placed simply on the cement floor (that floor, due to recent rains, has become a bit wet, further enhancing the illusion of ships at sea).

Across the room, the exposed wall seems the perfect frame to Syed Hosein’s “Double Pope,” an portrait that makes one’s eyes water until you realize it is a double-image.


Syed Hosain, Double Pope, oil on canvas

Photograph by Matthew Bakkom

The Shinders’ exhibition runs through October 30. Hours are Thursday 2-8pm, Friday 2-10pm and Saturday noon – 5pm, as well as by appointment. It’s an ethereal exhibition inspired by a space equally ethereal.

Tomorrow people are welcome to participate in an afternoon “drawing party.” If you go, dress warmly.