PRINT December 1973

Joel Shapiro: Works in Progress

JOEL SHAPIRO IS THIRTY-TWO and has been exhibiting regularly since 1969. His work calls to mind the essay, “Film and the New Psychology,” in which Maurice Merleau-Ponty points out that we are always aware of a cube’s six sides even though we can never see more than three of them at once. Merleau-Ponty is getting at something with which we are familiar but that is hard to account for—and which provides him with the basic theme of much of his writing on art—namely, that far more than shape, color, and texture falls within the scope of visual perception. This is to say that what is presented in visual experience is a complex of sensations ultimately bounded only by the limits of descriptive language itself, i.e., by history and psychology.

Shapiro’s art, like most of the art that currently grasps one’s attention, exhibits a desire to address itself to issues that are by definition the most

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