Thursday, October 28, 2021

Pace Gallery Announces Installation of Monumental Joel Shapiro Sculpture at the Historic IBM Building in Midtown Manhattan

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New York, October 6, 2021 – Pace Gallery is pleased to announce the installation of a large-scale bronze sculpture (untitled, 1996-1999) by Joel Shapiro at 590 Madison, the IBM Building, in Midtown Manhattan, New York. Replacing the Alexander Calder stabile Saurien (1975) that was in place for over 20 years, Shapiro’s work will be on public view at the front entrance of the building at the corner of 57th Street and Madison Avenue. On long-term loan, Shapiro’s sculpture brings a renewed energy to one of New York City’s most dynamic office buildings and streetscapes. The installation is co-organized with Edward J. Minskoff, with whom Pace has maintained a decades-long relationship that stems from a shared belief in the transformative power of public art and the intrinsic relationship between art and architecture.

One of America’s foremost contemporary sculptors with more than 30 publicly sited sculptures around the world, Shapiro has continually pushed the boundaries of sculptural form over the course of his 50-year career, developing a body of work distinguished by its dynamism and formal elegance. Emerging as a practicing artist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Shapiro sought to move beyond the restraints of Minimalism—while simultaneously retaining aspects of its material and procedural strategies—and to introduce a more referential and psychologically profound mode of sculpture making. Having worked with an array of materials over the years, with aluminum, iron, wood, and plaster among them, Shapiro is perhaps most renowned for his engagement with bronze casting and for his configurations often composed of abstract, rectilinear elements that suggest a human figure or figures in various states of movement.

Joel Shapiro with untitled (1996-1999), photography by Christopher Burke Studios
Joel Shapiro with untitled (1996-1999), photography by Christopher Burke Studios

Standing 24-feet-tall, Shapiro’s untitled bronze from 1996-1999 exemplifies his ability to elicit immediate and visceral responses from viewers. From various points around the intersection of Madison and 57th Street, as well as the plaza around the sculpture in front of 590 Madison, pedestrians and viewers can explore the artist’s attention to patina, surface, shape, and process—noting how the bronze casting retains traces of the original wood patterns— along with the work’s shifting forms and configurations. At once soaring and flailing, the work’s turbulent and ultimately buoyant, graceful forms reinvigorate viewers’ engagement with their daily, urban surroundings, evoking the complexity of modern life and the regenerative potential of the human spirit.

Shapiro says:
“I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to exhibit a sculpture in such a prominent plaza in the city, and I am honored to follow the much-lauded, long-term Calder installation, which I greatly admired. I would like to thank Arne and Marc Glimcher and Edward Minskoff for making this installation possible and for their longtime commitment to public art. As we continue to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that my sculpture is seen as a celebration of and testament to the strength, courage, resilience, and creativity of the great people of New York City.”

Pace Gallery and Minskoff began their years-long partnership in 1995 with the inaugural exhibition of The Sculpture Garden, a presentation in the public atrium of 590 Madison organized by Pace and featuring seasonal showings of modern and contemporary sculpture. The first iteration of the exhibition series included sculptures by Pace artists, including Jean Dubuffet, Louise Nevelson, and Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, among others. In conjunction with this presentation, Pace installed Saurien, a large-scale sculpture by Calder, at the entrance of 590 Madison. Works by Pace’s artists are featured at several of Minskoff’s other properties in New York, including Jeff Koons’s Balloon Rabbit (2005-2013) at IBM Watson Headquarters at 51 Astor Place and Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s Spitzhacke, Model (1982) at 1166 Avenue of the Americas. Minskoff says:

“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Pace for the past four decades to display public art throughout the city. This project marks the culmination of my long-standing relationship with Pace and Joel Shapiro. I am looking forward to having one of Joel’s prominent sculptures outside of 590 Madison Avenue for many New Yorkers and tourists to encounter as the city continues to reopen.”

Marc Glimcher says:

“Public art is a cornerstone of our program and foundational to the practices of several of our artists. We’re grateful for our years-long partnership with Edward J. Minskoff and for his shared enthusiasm for public art, which has allowed us to share our artists’ large-scale works with audiences beyond our gallery walls. Joel Shapiro is one of the foremost American sculptors working today and we’re thankful to be able to display his work at the heart Midtown Manhattan.”

Since its founding in 1960, Pace has championed many artists working at monumental scales. Iconic public sculptures supported by Pace in New York include Dubuffet’s Group of Four Trees (1970-1972), which has become a fixture in the downtown Manhattan cityscape and remains on view at One Chase Manhattan Plaza today; Nevelson’s chapel, which is located inside Saint Peter’s Church at 619 Lexington Avenue and is currently undergoing renovations supported in part by the gallery; and Nevelson’s Shadows and Flags (1977) in the Financial District.

Today, Pace continues to represent some of art history’s most important sculptors and installation artists, such as Calder, Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Tony Smith, Sol LeWitt, Nevelson, and Oldenburg and van Bruggen. The gallery also supports contemporary artists navigating new frontiers of large-scale sculpture, including Lynda Benglis, Tara Donovan, Song Dong, Maya Lin, Latifa Echakhch, Elmgreen & Dragset, Koons, Arlene Shechet, and others.

Notable public art installations and commissions by Pace artists currently on view in New York include Lin’s Ghost Forest (2021) at Madison Square Park; Calder’s sculptures Janey Waney (1969) at Gramercy Park and Le Guichet (1963) at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; and Hepworth’s monumental bronze work Single Form (1961-64), which is located at the United Nations Building.

Joel Shapiro (b. 1941) has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Spain; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; and other international institutions. His work can be found in many public collections around the world, including those of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Tate Gallery, London. Among his over 30 major commissions are large-scale works for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. and the US consulate in Guangzhou, China. His work can also be found outside the US embassy in Ottawa, Canada; the Denver Art Museum, Colorado; and the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.

Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko. Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.

Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy as an artist-first gallery that mounts seminal historical and contemporary exhibitions. Under the current leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace continues to support its artists and share their visionary work with audiences worldwide by remaining at the forefront of innovation. Now in its seventh decade, the gallery advances its mission through a robust global program— comprising exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, performances, and interdisciplinary projects. Pace has a legacy in art bookmaking and has published over five hundred titles in close collaboration with artists, with a focus on original scholarship and on introducing new voices to the art historical canon. The gallery has also spearheaded exploration into the intersection of art and technology through new business models, exhibition interpretation tools, and representation of artists engaging with technology.

Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide including London, Geneva, a strong foothold in Palo Alto, and two galleries in New York—its headquarters at 540 West 25th Street, which welcomed almost 120,000 visitors and programmed 20 shows in its first six months and an adjacent 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition space at 510 West 25th Street. Pace was one of the first international galleries to establish outposts in Asia, where it operates permanent gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as an office and viewing room in Beijing. In 2020, Pace opened temporary exhibition spaces in East Hampton and Palm Beach, with continued programming on a seasonal basis. In fall 2021, Pace will continue to expand its European presence with the opening of a larger gallery space in London.

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