Joel Shapiro is an American artist best known for his wooden sculptures of abstracted human forms. Blurring the line between figural sculpture and geometric abstraction, his work is comprised of painted rectangular blocks arranged in compositions that suggest representational forms in space. Inspired by prominent Minimalist sculptors such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Richard Serra, Shapiro extrapolates their aesthetic into works that are more colorful and playful than those of his peers.
“Conceptual art seemed awfully illustrative and pedantic,” he explained of working in the 1960s. “I thought my problem was to describe an emotional state, my own longing or desire. My work was small but ambitious, and it was much more abstract.”
Born on September 27, 1941 in Queens, NY, he went on to receive both his BA and MA from New York University, and travel extensively while serving in the Peace Corp, notably to India. Since his first solo exhibition in 1970, Shapiro's work has been the subject of more than 160 solo exhibitions and retrospectives. Shaprio has exhibited regularly at Pace Gallery in New York, and his work is held in prestigious institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Tate Gallery in London.