Sue Coe

PPOW Gallery

This month’s gallery tour took me to several galleries in parts of New York’s Lower East Side that are ordinarily visited only by outsiders who happen to be dope addicts. I actually turned back on my way to one gallery, but this one is on a safe block and it was there that I saw Sue Coe’s powerful show, a show having a lot to do with the abutment of art and junk and junk a few blocks east.

Sue Coe paints horror beautifully, ugliness elegantly, and monstrosity with precise sanity. In a piece called It’s Like a Jungle, 1983, inspired by the Grandmaster Flash rap-realism hit song (the words are there in the picture), everything’s black and gray and red. A hypodermic syringe (AKA works, set, Johnson, parato) is turning into a lizard. There are gang leathers, a guy with punk-spike hair and lizard pinball eyes, wolves, “eats” signs, and snakes. Christ or a bum look-alike staggers by a liquor

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