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Joel Shapiro


Alias: Joel Shapiro


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(b New York City, 1941) American Sculptor. Joel Elias Shapiro received both his BA and MA from New York University. From 1965 to 1967 he participated in the Peace Corps in India. After serving in the Peace Corps, Shapiro moved back to New York and earned his MA. Around this time, he had his first major group show, “Anti Illusion,” at the Whitney museum. His early work was abstract paintings on shaped canvases and ink fingerprint drawings. Along with the earlier, smaller house sculptures, Shapiro's figurative work contained an iconographic element which "has helped bring sculpture back from the brink of extinction, imbuing it, in the process, with a personal yet universally legible meaning." (R. Smith, Joel Shapiro (Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition), New York, 1982, p. 12). In a series of small running men of 1976-1977, Shapiro seemed constricted by the small scale of his sculptures for the first time. Beginning in 1980, Shapiro constructed his first figures of almost life-size scale, creating works that achieved a more interdependent relationship with the space they inhabited. The figure is no longer static in Shapiro's work and it acknowledges its ground as a participant in the overall composition. Shapiro lives and works in New York City. (Credit: Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Art, part 1, November 17, 1992, Lot 54)

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