untitled, 1989 - Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro
untitled, 1989

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Joel Shapiro
Date created
90 in. × 90 in. × 22 1/2 in. (228.6 cm × 228.6 cm × 57.15 cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Photo credit
Courtesy Prudence Cuming Associates, Ltd.
© Joel Shapiro / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

Curators discuss Shapiro’s balancing figure

Show TranscriptHide Transcript



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 thats holding them up or keeping them moving. It has a kind of active, animated aspect to it that makes you imagine that its 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. Theres almost a slapstick kind of quality to it, an almost clownlike quality, that this is someone kind of performing or somebody taken off balance thats 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 theres a lot of humor in it. 

Read MoreCollapse

Other Works by Joel Shapiro

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 collections@sfmoma.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 collections@sfmoma.org 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 copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.