Joel Shapiro: Attacking the Past? As they challenge themselves to get to something new, artists often make awkward, ugly transitional work. In his show in late 2005 at the Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Joel Shapiro seemed almost to be attacking his past work in order to get beyond it. The artist, who is best known for off-kilter, dancer-like sculptures made from long block-like forms, showed bronze sculptures that were cast from clumsy-looking pieces of wood and joined in jumbles. His wooden sculptures, which seemed to be fashioned from workshop scrap, had clusters of bent nails driven into them and color splashed on. You couldn’t take your eyes off this work.