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March 05, 2013

A New Sculpture at China’s U.S. Consulate

By Erin Schumaker | Art

A New Sculpture at China’s U.S. Consulate
JOEL SHAPIRO (American, 1941) Now 2013

Guangzhou, China—a southern manufacturing hub with a population of 15 million, the third-largest city in the country—is getting a taste of New York this month. From March 10–13, renowned New York–based artist Joel Shapiro will install his 22-foot welded-aluminum sculpture titled Now at the entrance of the city’s brand-new U.S. Consulate. Talks featuring Shapiro at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (March 13) and the Times Museum (March 16) follow the unveiling.

“There’s no collective intent,” Shapiro explained during a chat at his 5,000-square-foot studio in Long Island City late last year. “I wanted to make a sculpture that was lively and vibrant and in the present tense—a metaphor for the human spirit.”

The Foundation for Art & Preservation in Embassies commissioned the angular piece, painted a vivid ultramarine blue. The effort is Shapiro’s second creation for the foundation, the first being a large-scale bronze sculpture called Conjunction (1999), which stands outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.

As for Now, Shapiro said he avoided creating a colossal work and shot for something a bit more life-size. “I’m aware of the parts,” he said. “I want them to correspond with something in your own experience.” 1 Shamian St. S.; fapeglobal.org.

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