Frying has a homogenizing effect: it makes both plants and animals soft and oily, and both take on the flavor and crunch and sandy look of the crispy batter that coats them. The summer group show can homogenize, too, by saturating artworks with a gimmicky concept. The title of “Fritto Misto” seems to hint at the perils of the group show, but the mixture that Clearing presents is varied and weird enough to overcome them. Marguerite Humeau’s Gisant 2 (2016) makes a striking first impression. The French artist models heads of extinct beasts in high-density foam, and adds electronic sound components that simulate the noises they made, based on her research into the structure of throat tissue. Gisant 2 is a head of a woolly mammoth, its tusks and trunk forming the curved line of a horn. It’s supported by slender rods on broad triangular bases—an armature that recalls a shower caddy from Target. In the next gallery, the figure in a slight oil-stick drawing by Harold Ancart (Untitled, 2014) echoes the top-heavy form of Humeau’s sculpture. It lumbers under a black sky like the bovine landcraft from Star Wars, its blue torso tinted with the red of its spindly legs. Ancart’s work hides behind a cast-aluminum sculpture by the late Bruno Gironcoli that evokes both epic monumentality and Biedermeier kitsch. Shaped like a door knocker turned on its side, the metallic monolith is studded with a floral pattern of bulbous poinsettias. Alien figures seem to both ride on its back and grow out of it. There are other treats here, too: Huma Bhabha’s polystyrene polyps lurking in a transparent plinth, a little man climbing out of a purse in Calvin Marcus’s funny sculpture. In Clearing’s recipe for a group show, as in that for a memorable mixed fry, the odder, the bigger, and the more different the ingredients are, the better.—Brian Droitcour
Pictured: Bruno Gironcoli: Untitled, 1996, cast aluminum on steel base, 22½ by 166 by 40 inches. Courtesy CLEARING, New York / Brussels.