Joel Shapiro: Work in Wood, Plaster, and Bronze: 2001-2005

Joel Shapiro: Work in Wood, Plaster, and Bronze: 2001-2005

Thursday, March 10, 2005Saturday, April 16, 2005


Joel Shapiro
March 10 through April 16, 2005
Exhibition coincides with new project at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris

February 23, 2005 -- PaceWildenstein will exhibit new work by Joel Shapiro at 32 East 57th Street, New York, from March 10 through April 16, 2005. The artist will be present at a public opening in the gallery on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Work in Wood, Plaster, and Bronze: 2001-2005 is comprised of over forty sculptures and includes Study (20 elements), a maquette for a work recently commissioned by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which will be on view in the museum’s Great Hall beginning April 2005.

Work in Wood, Plaster, and Bronze: 2001-2005 represents a new direction for the artist who has exhibited his work worldwide since 1969. Steven A. Nash, Director, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, writes in the accompanying catalogue essay, “The new works also respond to a challenging recent commission and, more profoundly, to drastic changes in the world around us, alterations of the cultural and psychological landscape we are just beginning to absorb that play out in Shapiro’s art in unforeseeable ways.”

While Shapiro continues to use block-like elements to create his sculpture, a new gestural expression pervades this body of work. The artist has introduced wire into the compositions of many of his wood sculptures, some also vividly painted. Nash remarks, “Looked at graphically as drawings in space, such works project a spontaneous, gestural strength unexpectedly reminiscent of the dense weavings of Franz Kline and David Smith.”

Shapiro’s Musée d’Orsay project is part of a series called “Correspondences,” which links contemporary artists with a work of their choice from the museum’s permanent collection. Shapiro selected Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s The Dance, the 1865-1869 sculpture originally made for the façade of Charles Garnier’s Paris Opera. Carpeaux’s work, considered controversial at the time for its erotic depiction of nudes, is, like most of Shapiro’s sculpture, committed to the investigation of movement and form.

Joel Shapiro (born 1941) received a B.A. and M.A. from New York University (1964, 1969). Since his first solo exhibition in 1970, Shapiro’s work has been the subject of over 100 one-person shows and retrospectives including: Joel Shapiro: Sculpture and Drawing at The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London that later traveled to the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1980); Joel Shapiro organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York with subsequent venues at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (1982-84); Joel Shapiro at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and later exhibited at the Kunsthaus Düsseldorf and the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany (1985-86); Joel Shapiro organized by IVAM Centro Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, that later traveled to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, the Kunsthalle Zurich and the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Calais, France (1990-91). The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City co-organized and exhibited Joel Shapiro: Outdoors, the first major outdoor exhibition of the artist’s bronzes (1995-96), and in 1999 the American Academy in Rome mounted Joel Shapiro: Roma, an installation of Shapiro’s sculpture at the Academy and around the city. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England exhibited Joel Shapiro: Sculptures 1974-1999 shortly thereafter (1999-2000). Most recently, Shapiro’s sculpture was on view at the Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, which then traveled to the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio and the Denver Art Museum (2000-01). In the summer and autumn of 2001, Shapiro’s work was on view at The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Shapiro has been honored with numerous awards including: a Visual Art Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1975); the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1984); the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (1986); the Award of Merit Medal for Sculpture given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, NY; and, election to the Swedish Royal Academy of Art. In 1998 Shapiro became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY. In addition, Shapiro’s work has regularly been exhibited in prestigious group exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial, NY (1977, 1979, 1981, 1989), Documenta in Kassel, Germany (1977, 1982), and the Venice Biennale (1980).

More than 20 commissions and publicly sited sculptures by Shapiro are located in major Asian, European and North American cities including works for the Cigna Corporation, Philadelphia (1983-84); Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills (1988-89); the Government Service Administration, Los Angeles (1988-90); the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC (1993); Sony Plaza, New York (1994-95); Friedrichstadt Passagen, Berlin (1994-95); the Kansas City International Airport, (1994-96); the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1996); Kanton of Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland (1997); the Embassy of the United States of America, Ottawa, Canada (1999); Köln Skulpture Park, Cologne (1999); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1999); the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (1999); the University of Cincinnati (1999); Rockefeller University, New York (2000); the International Sculpture Collection, Rotterdam (2000); the Communaute de Communes de L’Agglomeration Orleanaise, Orléans (2001); the Embassy of the United States of America, Vienna, Austria (2001); The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago (2002), Harvard Business School, Boston (2000-2003); and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (installed 2003). In 2006, The City of Des Moines will install a large-scale sculpture by the artist.

Joel Shapiro’s work can be found in over eighty public collections in the United States and abroad, including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Cleveland Museum of Art; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Des Moines Art Center; Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Japan; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, New York;; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Saint Louis Art Museum; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Tate Gallery, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

Joel Shapiro lives and works in New York.