Joel Shapiro: New Sculpture at PaceWildenstein in NYC

Joel ShapiroJoel Shapiro: New Sculpture, is an installation of nine new works on view at PaceWildenstein in New York City from November 2, 2007 through January 19, 2008. The exhibition includes four painted wood sculptures and five bronzes.

Five years ago Shapiro embarked on a series of hanging constructions made from wire and wood. Moving further away from anatomical references, the hanging sculpture signified a radical departure. The spontaneity and unpredictability of the assemblage led to a transformation in Shapiro’s new investigations of form and how sculptural compositions affect perceptions of volume, space, and movement.

Dr. Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and Director of the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas at Austin, has contributed an essay to the accompanying exhibition catalogue. Dr. Shiff writes, “Large or small, his sculptural constructions divide into relatively manageable units of material, so that the character of a work is never the product of imposing size but of articulation…. In every instance, Shapiro’s sculpture draws its animating energy not from its grounding or means of support, nor from the volume of architectural space that may surround it, but from its internal tensions.” Dr. Shiff also remarks on Shapiro’s application of color on the wood sculptures. “Shapiro’s use of color—sand-blasted paint, either rose or blue on selected elements, slight traces of yellow on some others—enhances the effect by dissociating the individual segments so that the blockiness of units does not become heavy by accumulation. This observation might hold for many of Shapiro’s works: reason seems to tell us that they should appear heavier than they do. When we suspend reason, experience seizes the opportunity to correct it.”

Joel Shapiro (born 1941, New York City) received a B.A. (1964) and M.A. (1969) from New York University. Since his first one-person exhibition in 1970, Shapiro’s work has been the subject of over 100 solo exhibitions and retrospectives. In 2008, the city of Bilbao will unveil a new sculpture by Joel Shapiro. The Norton Museum recently commissioned the artist to create a two-part sculpture “Up/Over”, which he will inaugurate in December of this year. Shapiro is currently working on a new public commission of a suspended bronze sculpture that will be installed late 2008 or 2009 in London at 23 Saville Row.

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