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REFERENCE TO BREAKDOWN: JOEL SHAPIRO'S SCULPTURES OF THE '80S

JOEL SHAPIRO’S POSITION AMONG contemporary sculptors is in general an enviable one. He has a distinguished international exhibition record, solid dealer representation that continues to generate sales and commissions, and a body of work that is expanding and maturing free of the taint of cynical strategy. So why write about him now, when critical support for his work has for years been, if not highly vocal, certainly loyal and well-founded?

My reason is that I think Shapiro’s art has begun to become invisible to the art world, despite (or maybe because of) its seemingly wide acceptance. Some viewers, I think, have begun to look upon his sculpture as conservative, because its links to Minimalism remain apparent. To others, his work has a kind of “human” content that would be philosophically insupportable both to a rigorous Minimalist and, in a different sense, to an artist fully in touch

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