American artist’s sculpture to soar in front of consulate in China
New York-based Joel Shapiro commissioned to create a bird-like work for Guangzhou
By Eric Magnuson. Web only
Published online: 26 June 2012
A 22-foot-tall bird-like sculpture is due to land in front of the new US Consulate building in Guangzhou, China, in 2013. Joel Shapiro, the New York-born sculptor, who continues to work out of his Long Island City studio, was commissioned to create the bright blue piece in 2009 by the United States’ Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), which is dedicated to improving the country’s image abroad through US art. Shapiro revealed plans for the site-specific work on Monday, 25 June.
Commenting on the sculpture’s airy, freewheeling appearance, Shapiro tells The Art Newspaper, “Perhaps the work is about overcoming the pervasive effect of gravity in the organisation of form. That’s something I’ve struggled with for years. This sculpture is really free and not constructed from or dependent upon the ground.” It is Shapiro’s second piece for FAPE. His first work for the foundation, Conjunction, 1999, stands outside of the US Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. For the Guangzhou sculpture, Shapiro collaborated with the consulate’s architect, Craig Hartman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, to integrate the work with the new building’s outdoor space.
Artists participating in FAPE’s program are chosen by a volunteer advisory committee chaired by Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art. FAPE has placed the work of more than 200 US artists in more than 140 countries and is currently sponsored by Bank of America.
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