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Suspension of Convention

Joel Shapiro's rebellious spirit explodes at Rice Gallery.

Surrounded by colorful shapes, it feels as if you woke up inside a Constructivist painting.
Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
Surrounded by colorful shapes, it feels as if you woke up inside a Constructivist painting.

Location Info

Map

Rice Gallery

6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Kirby-West U

Details

"Joel Shapiro: New Installation"

Through March 18. Rice ­Gallery, 6100 Main, 713-348-6069.

And then there's the matter of Shapiro's now-signature suspension technique. Much has been said of the artist's grand attempts to "fight" gravity; in press materials and other articles on his recent career, his work is often described as "gravity-defying" and achieving "suspended animation." Of course, that takes a little imagination on the viewer's part. That's because when walking around his suspended planks at Rice, you see the magic at hand — the taut, nylon twine connecting the wood to the wall is the card up the sleeve, the trick back door, revealed. These strings are everywhere, and any illusion of floating is erased by their presence. But because of that, because of his attempts to make the impossible possible, to defy even the most fundamental of conventions — what goes up must come down — Shapiro may be the ultimate, crazy dreamer. Gravity will always be there; the apple will always fall from the tree. But that doesn't mean Shapiro won't stop trying to explore new territory by placing his art in the air around him. And it sure is fun to see him try.

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