New York

Joel Shapiro

Whitney Museum of American Art

The career of Joel Shapiro can be seen to encapsulate two histories, his own and that of post-1970 art, for it coincides with and summarizes many of the issues central to the period. As Roberta Smith writes in the catalogue of this show, it is a highly “representative” career, one which registers with barometric efficacy the demise of Minimalism, the schismatic questions posed by mid-'70s art, and the channelling of the latter, largely under the aegis of psychology and representation, into the art of the current period. This retrospective of 40 sculptures and 16 drawings, organized by the Whitney and scheduled to travel, affords some measure of Shapiro's achievement.

It appears as a constellation of fragments, of small objects and tentative soundings of the possibilities inherent in sculpture. Void of the earliest “process” pieces, from 1968-69, the exhibition begins with Shapiro's plays

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