Nasher Sculpture Center Announces Joel Shapiro

Colorful, immersive installation by one of the most influential artists of the era pushes decades-long investigation of geometric form into new terrain

Dallas, Texas (March 1, 2016)—The Nasher Sculpture Center announces the exhibition Joel Shapiro, on view from May 7 to August 21, 2016. One of the most prominent and influential sculptors of the era, Joel Shapiro has long explored geometric form through structural compositions that visually and physically challenge the possibilities of balance and weight.

For his Nasher exhibition, Shapiro will extend his career-long inquiry of form in space with a site-specific installation of brightly painted and suspended volumes that occupy the floor and hover in the air at different heights and angles within the gallery, creating “a jungle gym for vision,” as Los Angeles Times critic David Pagel describes his recent work. The installation expands the predominant focus of Shapiro’s oeuvre, which the artist notes is rooted in the “reconfiguration of and repositioning of relatively known, simple geometric forms.”

“Joel Shapiro is a pillar of the Nasher Collection, his monumental sculptures and small-scale works frequently on view in our galleries and garden, so it is especially thrilling to be able to present his new, dynamic, and acrobatic work in this major exhibition,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “The installation promises to challenge notions of sculptural form by engaging the gallery space to its full extent—suspending forms in mid-air by tethering them to the structure of the building and stretching both open and closed shapes throughout the space, making a secondary network of negative spaces around those shapes. It’s an exhibition that will underscore Shapiro’s unique ability to present a stunning array of possibilities for a concentrated formal focus.”

In addition to the installation of suspended forms, a series of recent works on paper featuring amorphous skeins of ink and gouache, as well as key works by Shapiro from the Nasher’s permanent collection, will also be on view in the Nasher Collection gallery and throughout the Sculpture Center. Alongside the artist’s site-specific installation, this presentation of his two-dimensional work and older sculptures will highlight Shapiro’s prevailing concern for matters of scale—the relationship between the size and the physical experience of a form.

As balletic and fluid as they are angular or severe, all of the works in the exhibition will attest to Shapiro’s masterful harnessing of the joyful energy made by arranging forms and structures in space.

About Joel Shapiro

Joel Shapiro (born 1941, New York City) received a B.A. (1964) and M.A. (1969) from New York University. Since his first one-person exhibition in 1970, his work has been the subject of nearly 160 solo exhibitions and retrospectives internationally. He has been included in prestigious group exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial (1977, 1979, 1981, 1989), Documenta (1977, 1982), and the Venice Biennale (1980). Shapiro was elected to the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in 1994 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998. In 2005, he received the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France. More than 30 commissions and publicly sited sculptures by the artist are located in major Asian, European and North American cities. Joel Shapiro lives and works in New York City.

Joel Shapiro