new-york

Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 2012–14, wood, casein, cord, dimensions variable. © Joel Shapiro/Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Joel Shapiro

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 2012–14, wood, casein, cord, dimensions variable. © Joel Shapiro/Artists Rights Society (ARS).

Dispersed throughout a vast space, the ten beams of Joel Shapiro’s installation Untitled, 2012–14, took over the large back room of Paula Cooper Gallery. These lengths of wood, each painted a different color, hung in midair, suspended from the ceiling and anchored to the floor with industrial cord. They are mismatched—some are flat planes, some are more boxlike—such that the work, taken as a whole, seemed unstable and incoherent, if not discombobulated and absurd. The sculpture was certainly at odds with gallery’s stately grandeur and order, especially the harmonious, serial regularity of the wood rafters lining the ceiling.

Speaking about his work, Shapiro cites Kandinsky’s concept of dynamic equilibrium. Here, the equilibrium feels as if it were running amok, stretched to the breaking point—the work comes off as a geometric abstraction undergoing a chaotic explosion.

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