Curators discuss Shapiro’s balancing figure
Curators John Zarobell and Gary Garrels.
So this piece by Joel Shapiro, which is untitled, is a group of rectangular solids that are attached together, and they seem to almost be suspended in midair, as if there is some tension or force that’s holding them up or keeping them moving. It has a kind of active, animated aspect to it that makes you imagine that it’s not just a group of cubes, but in fact, an active figure moving through space.
This particular work by Shapiro is a very human scale. There’s almost a slapstick kind of quality to it, an almost clownlike quality, that this is someone kind of performing or somebody taken off balance that’s gonna have to just catch themselves, to right themselves, to get back in equilibrium. You know, so the sense of possible falling, of contingency, of fragility, is very much embodied in the piece and I think there’s a lot of humor in it.
Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm it will be on view.
Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at email@example.com to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.