The sad, perplexing story of the jilted and inconsolable Harry Shunk, who died in the Westbeth artists’ complex in the West Village of New York City, is the read of the day. The creator of Yves Klein’s famous “Leap Into the Void” photomontage was a hoarder who had created a trove and a quandary, according to the New York Times:
Mr. Shunk died without a will or known relatives, so the Manhattan public administrator took control of his estate. For about a week, a team of investigators removed whatever it deemed valuable. Two years later, at auction, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation acquired the bulk of Mr. Shunk’s archive, about 200,000 photographs and other items, valued at $2 million.
Even with that cherry picking done, there was still an enormous quantity of material. The man hired to clear the place, Daryl Kelly, watched as the dumpsters he filled with refuse were picked clean by passersby. Eventually, he helped himself to 2000 items including:
At a storage locker in SoHo recently, Mr. Kelly, 56, displayed mementos from his 2006 trip to Mr. Shunk’s apartment: sketches and three-dimensional maquettes byChristo; large-format photographs of the artist Yves Klein directing naked women dabbed in paint; lithographs by Andy Warhol and Paul Jenkins; a menu handwritten by Larry Rivers; museum posters; gallery fliers; magazine clippings; a packet of gold leaf belonging to Mr. Klein.
The story raises the obvious question about where all of the other pieces pulled from those dumpsters have gone and do any of their owners understand what they might be holding?