Joel Shapiro

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

A selection of nine early works by Joel Shapiro was installed in two smaller rooms of Paula Cooper’s several brut Chelsea spaces, a presentation of work so dazzlingly beatific that one wished for its permanent presence as respite from the jangling disorder engulfing us.

In the larger of the two cloistral spaces were seven small works (in certain instances veritable miniatures, measurable in scant inches), each Untitled and dating to the mid-1970s, situated widely apart from one another and mostly set down directly on the floor. Shapiro’s severe little houses are simply seven planes reduced to the elemental iconicity of the tokens in the game of Monopoly. One such work here stood alone, while others took up variant distortions—the lean to, for instance. Miniature houses were also mounted on a low table-like structure and on a flangelike shelf extending from the wall. The works all radiated

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