Joel Shapiro

Joel Shapiro

Born in New York City in 1941, Joel Shapiro has explored the possibilities of sculptural form throughout his forty-five-year career. Since his first solo exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery in 1970, his work has been the subject of numerous solo and retrospective exhibitions at institutions, most recently Joel Shapiro: The Bronzes, an ambitious exhibition focused on the artists large-scale bronze works at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Other exhibitions have been held at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1980; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1982; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1985; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (jointly with the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City), 1995-96; the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2001; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, 2011. Shapiro’s work can be found in numerous public collections in the United States and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Tate Gallery, London; IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

In 1993 he installed a permanent work, Loss and Regeneration, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Other prominent commissions and works in public space include Conjunction, for the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies for the United States Embassy in Ottawa, Canada; For Jennifer, commissioned by the Denver Art Museum; and Now, commissioned by the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies and installed in 2013 at the new U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

Shapiro was elected to the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in 1994 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998. The French Minister of Culture awarded Shapiro the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2005, and in 2013 he was honored with the National Art Award for Outstanding Achievement by Americans for the Arts. In April 2015 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture by the International Sculpture Center.

In 2014 Shapiro exhibited a new sculptural installation at Paula Cooper Gallery, recent work on paper at Pace Gallery, and sculpture from the 1970s at Craig F. Starr Gallery, New York. In the spring of 2014, Shapiro exhibited sculpture in wood, bronze, and plaster at Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, which subsequently travelled to Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne, in January 2015.

In May 2016 Shapiro exhibited a new sculptural installation at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.

Joel Shapiro lives and works in New York City.


Magical Thinking with Sculptor Joel Shapiro

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Selected Works

  • Untitled (Red)
    Wood, casein, and cord
    67 x 182 x 88 inches (170.2 x 462.3 x 223.5 cm)

  • Untitled
    1992 - 1995
    Oil on wood
    55 1/2 x 53 x 34 inches (141 x 134.6 x 86.4 cm)

  • Untitled
    1979 (2003)
    Casein on wood
    6 5/8 x 7 3/4 x 3 inches (16.8 x 20 x 7.6 cm)

  • Joel Shapiro
    1980 (2003).
    Casein on wood,
    5 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 1 9/16 inches (14 x 12.1 x 4 cm).
    © 2018 Joel Shapiro / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.

  • Joel Shapiro.
    12 3/16 x 9 7/8 x 11 11/16 inches (31 x 25.1 x 29.7 cm).
    © 2018 Joel Shapiro / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York.
    Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.



Joel Shapiro at Dominique Lévy New York

March 22, 2017

New York
October 28, 2016 – December 22, 2017


Museum Exhibitions

Selected Press

VernissageTV | Art Basel Miami Beach 2019

December 5, 2019

This is a virtual tour of Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019 on the occasion of press preview on December …

FAD Magazine | Artworks by World’s Leading Artists Donated to Make-A-Wish® UK Charity Auction

September 19, 2019

The charity auction will feature more than 20 new and recent artworks by some of the world’s leading …

Wisconsin State Journal | Rising Above Convention With Joel Shapiro's Bronzes

September 17, 2018

When “Joel Shapiro: The Bronzes” opens with a reception at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art …

Artsy | New Fairs and Blue Chip Dealers Descend on San Francisco to End Debate Over City’s Art Market

January 10, 2017

Lévy says she was compelled to participate in the fair after “witnessing the energy and the support …

Village Voice | Joel Shapiro

November 8, 2016

The challenge with abstraction is that you can always deny it. Look hard enough at any non-figurative …

studio international | Joel Shapiro: ‘As an artist, you are synthesising the stuff around you in a way that engages you’

November 7, 2016

The influential American sculptor, now in the fifth decade of his career, brings out his wood wall reliefs …

Artsy | 15 New York Gallery Shows You Need to See This November

November 1, 2016

Shapiro’s facility with color and space shines in this pairing of his early works and a new installation. …

Blouin Artinfo | Notes on a Sculpture

October 1, 2016

Mention of the name Joel Shapiro typically elicits pause, consideration, and always respect -- likely …

Cultured | Tipping the Scale

October 1, 2016

“I’m not interested in strict rules,” says Joel Shapiro with a youthful smirk. “ I can’t abide …

THE ART NEWSPAPER | The seriousness of a child at play: Kenneth Baker on Joel Shapiro at the Nasher Sculpture Center

July 1, 2016

Anyone who saw early presentations of Joel Shapiro’s sculpture in New York will remember a small untitled …

The Dallas Morning News | Joel Shapiro’s 20 Elements serves as a sublime entry point to his very cool show at the Nasher

June 4, 2016

When one enters the Nasher Sculpture Center these days, there is an immediate sense of familiarity. It’s …

The Wall Street Journal | ‘Joel Shapiro’ Review: Forms in Flight

May 23, 2016

Instead of giving Joel Shapiro another retrospective—this 74-year-old sculptor has had several—the …

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