Joel Shapiro

Pace | 510 West 25th Street

Paradoxically, the Holocaust seems to have given new life to Joel Shapiro’s sculptures. This is perhaps most evident in the intense color and disturbing forms of the glorious drawings, meant to be preliminary studies but strong in their own right. Shapiro’s sculpture had begun to look increasingly like a dry, formal exercise in which the minimum of simple geometrical means no longer worked to maximum expressive effect. Without the former tension between abstraction and figuration, the sculptures seemed dogmatically static, that is, they read neither as evocative mannequins nor as pure constructions, but as mannered versions of both.

But then Shapiro received a commission from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. which seems to have deeply excited his imagination, restoring the insight that originally sparked his art: the awareness of the anxiety inherent to the dialectic of abstraction

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