New York

Miriam Schapiro

Lerner-Heller and Gladstone/Villani Galleries

Donald Judd might be horrified to hear his work called decorative, but Miriam Schapiro would delight in the adjective. There seems to be a Schapiro exhibition everywhere you look these days, and for good reason. Her work is frankly decorative, texturally rich and formally complex. But it’s the content that’s most powerful.

Her exhibition of paintings at Lerner/Heller concentrates on two themes from japanoiserie: the kimono and the fan. These collages of paint and fabric have the appropriate format for each subject: the kimonos are silhouetted on the surface of boldly colored canvases, the fans are on a semicircular canvas—the shape of an opened fan. Both the fan and the kimono are important functional/decorative objects that carefully reveal and conceal their wearer/users.

Although these subjects are certainly oriental, Schapiro’s translation is deliberately American. She uses fabrics

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