Joel Shapiro was born in is in New York (U.S.) in 1941. He makes sculptures and drawings. During a trip to India he became acquainted with that country’s sculpture, which he described as “generous outpourings of work, representing the whole range of human experience” [From: D. Wheeler, Art Since Mid-Century, New York 1991, p. 304]. This experience had a defining influence on Shapiro’s approach to sculpture.
Since 1970 Shapiro has exhibited his sculptures, which were initially influenced by the Minimalist and then Post-Minimalist idioms. But in their content and approach they produce a stronger psychological effect than Minimalist sculptures. The detachment of Minimalism, with its lack of engagement and emphasis on form over content, is replaced in Shapiro’s work by a more intuitive and expressive variant of this idiom.
Throughout his oeuvre Shapiro has consistently investigated space, volume, surface and the open versus the closed, imbuing his sculptures with an expressive power. Gradually Shapiro’s work has developed from extreme abstraction to forms in which human figures are discernible.