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Detail, Li Songsong, The One, 2012

Art Fairs

Outside In

Art Basel Online

Jun 16 – 26, 2020

Outside In brings together large-scale sculptures created specifically for the outdoor environment by artists whose monumental works continue to be enjoyed in parks and plazas worldwide during this time of quarantine. These are presented alongside a selection of sculptural works designated for the indoors.

The digital format of this year’s Art Basel presentation has provided a rare opportunity to mount a presentation that would normally be impossible within the confines of an art fair booth, and to highlight the importance of outdoor sculpture projects during a time when access to art is limited to encounters with art in the public sphere.

Lynda Benglis, Power Tower, 2019, silicone bronze, 89" × 64" × 72" (226.1 cm × 162.6 cm × 182.9 cm) Edition of 6 + 1 AP

Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis rose to prominence in the late 1960s with her foam and poured latex works, which radically confronted the masculism of dominant movements such as Minimalism and Process Art. Since then, she has continued to develop a diverse body of multi-media works that investigate materiality as well as the metaphorical aspects of form, pushing the boundaries of art. Though made of hard, unchanging bronze, Power Tower, for example, appears to be soft and yielding, as well as wildly dynamic and mutable. Benglis thus subverts the phallic potency of the tower as a monumental form repeatedly deployed in architecture and modern sculpture, especially by canonical male artists, such as Constantin Brancusi, Barnett Newman, and Richard Serra, among others.

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Alexander Calder, Mountains (1:5 intermediate maquette), 1976, sheet metal, bolts and paint, 12.75' × 12' × 11.5' (388.6 cm × 365.8 cm × 350.5 cm)

Alexander Calder

A pivotal figure of modern art, Alexander Calder is widely celebrated for his pioneering sculptures, which incorporated movement in literal as well as implicit ways. Following his 1932 invention of the mobile, Calder began—in the late 1950s—to explore new sculptural possibilities with his stabiles, a name coined by his friend Jean Arp. Though static and not strictly representational, his stabiles often evoke the changes within the natural world through their dynamic planes and referential titles. With many facets bringing about an ever-changing play of shadows, Mountains exemplifies the stabile’s captivating liveliness. Created later in his career, when Calder was at the height of his powers and at ease on a monumental scale, Mountains possesses an architectural gravitas tempered by a lyrical openness to its surroundings, as seen in the circular cut-out shape at its core.

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Alexander Calder, Puntos Blancos (White Dots), 1955, Sheet metal, wire, and paint, 51" × 46" × 25" (129.5 cm × 116.8 cm × 63.5 cm)

One of modern art’s most inventive and influential artists, Alexander Calder experimented with a range of mediums, from painting to jewelry to his pioneering work in sculpture. While in Paris in 1932, Calder invented a groundbreaking form of kinetic sculpture: the mobile, a term coined by his friend Marcel Duchamp. To Calder, who found inspiration in planetary systems, movement granted his works a profound universality while radically opening them to their surrounding world. As seen with Puntos Blancos, Calder’s mobiles were often articulated sculptures whose motion could be activated by the hand or the wind. These works evolved from drawings or were created by cutting shapes directly from sheet metal that Calder would then paint and arrange while paying careful attention to balance. In the present work, for example, delicate white circles are counterbalanced by a large, vivacious red disk.

John Chamberlain, Mrs. Swayed Schwooz, 2005, painted and chromed steel, 84-1/2" x 74-3/4" x 41" (214.6 cm x 189.9 cm x 104.1 cm)

John Chamberlain

In the mid-1950s, John Chamberlain devised a new type of abstract sculpture made exclusively out of worn yet colorful metals sourced from discarded cars. Eschewing maquettes and preparatory sketches, he worked intuitively by reacting to his chosen materials. His dynamic arrangements of planes and lines are reminiscent of the gesturalism characteristic of Abstract Expressionist painting. Chamberlain is also widely recognized for bringing color back to sculpture. Over time, his use of hues inherent to found car parts shifted to the addition and removal of paint. With vividly colored, graffiti-like patterns, Mrs. Swayed Schwooz is exemplary of this evolution. Suggestive of a human figure, its complex form, composed of twisted strips resembling winding ribbons, is representative of Chamberlain’s work since the late 1980s, which leans toward a Mannerist style, carrying hints of eroticism.

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Mary Corse, Untitled (Beams), 2019, glass microspheres on powder coated stainless steel, 144" × 150" × 1" (365.8 cm × 381 cm × 2.5 cm), overall 144" × 72" × 1" (365.8 cm × 182.9 cm × 2.5 cm), each

Mary Corse

Since the 1960s, Mary Corse has explored abstraction, materiality, and perception through subtly gestural and precisely geometric works that prompt physical and metaphysical experiences of luminosity.  Corse’s longstanding interest in the subjectivity of seeing is manifest in her recent outdoor work, Untitled (Beams). Gesturally painted with tiny glass microspheres—an industrial material that captures and refracts light as seen in its conventional use on road markings—the surface of the two monumental panels gradually metamorphoses in a complex game of light as viewers move around the work. Drawing the gaze in, the central negative space exists in tension with its two adjacent panels. Corse’s interest in these liminal spaces that elude as much as captivate vision encourage the viewer to question the divide between interior and exterior, material and immaterial, offering a respite from what the artist calls “finite thought.”

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Tara Donovan

Since the early 2000s, Tara Donovan has used everyday objects to create large-scale sculptures and installations that explore the transformative effects of accumulation. By harnessing the usually overlooked physical properties of modest, mass-produced goods, Donovan’s ethereal works challenge our perceptual habits and preconceptions. In this untitled piece, loops of metallic Mylar tape accrue as spheres, which catch and refract the ambient light, resulting in a sense of movement and expansiveness. In this way, Untitled is a “site-responsive” sculpture, reactive to its surroundings as well as to the viewer’s presence. The geometry and structure of Donovan’s conglomerate sculptures, which range in scale from a few feet wide to room-sized, are reminiscent of organic forms, complicating the synthetic nature of their materials.

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Tara Donovan, Untitled (Mylar), 2011, Mylar and hot glue, site specific installation dimensions variable
Tara Donovan, Untitled, 2015, Slinky®s, 81" × 74" × 59" (205.7 cm × 188 cm × 149.9 cm)

Employing a Minimalist vocabulary based in repetition, industrially made materials, and spatial relationships, Tara Donovan transforms common, mass-produced objects into sublime sculptures and installations that defy our perceptual assumptions. Donovan typically achieves this by using aggregation to amplify the properties unique to a material—in this case, the reflectivity and scalloped edge of stainless-steel Slinky®s. In Untitled, Donovan transforms a tactile object into an elusive arrangement of fine, meandering lines that glimmer or vanish depending on their lighting. She turned to Slinky®s in 2014, when she began exploring the possibilities of outdoor sculpture, but also produced wall-mounted and free-standing pieces such as Untitled for indoor settings. To Donovan, these works act as “drawings in space”—a graphic sensibility operative across her oeuvre, which also encompasses prints and drawings.

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Jean Dubuffet, Arbre biplan, 1968-2019, polyurethane paint on epoxy, 183" × 160" × 148" (464.8 cm × 406.4 cm × 375.9 cm)

Jean Dubuffet

Known for his work spanning painting, collage, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, Jean Dubuffet sought authenticity outside of artistic conventions, coining the term “Art Brut” in 1945 to describe art made beyond the boundaries of official culture. Through an invented system that abandoned conventional perspective, Dubuffet proposed the uncertainty of perception and introduced the potential for a new understanding of reality. Pushing the illusion of volume in his paintings into the three-dimensional realm in the summer of 1966, he developed maquettes by cutting into expanded polystyrene with a heated wire. He then enlarged the forms at a monumental scale using resilient materials, such as concrete and epoxy, and painting them with polyurethane. A recurring motif in Dubuffet’s oeuvre, the tree can be traced throughout his early bucolic paintings and his organic matter assemblages of the 1950s. Created with automatist lines and a reduced palette of black and white, they explore the subject of nature within the context of his famous Hourloupe cycle, proposing reimagined boundaries of reality and suggesting an alternative embodiment of nature rather than simulacra. Dubuffet's first successful expansion of a model into a full-scale sculpture in resin was Arbre biplan in 1969 at a workshop in Périgny-sur-Yerres outside Paris, where he subsequently established his own studio.

Robert Irwin, Untitled (Acrylic Column), 1969-2011, acrylic, 15' 6-1/2" x 9" x 3-1/2" (473.7 cm x 22.9 cm x 8.9 cm)

Robert Irwin

A founding figure of California’s Light and Space movement and one of the most prominent American artists working today, Robert Irwin has since the 1960s studied the perceptual impact of light, geometry, and space through ethereal works, most notably site-conditioned installations and architectural interventions and projects. In 1969, before closing his studio and devoting himself uniquely to immersive environments, Irwin began his first—and only—series of free-standing sculptures: transparent acrylic columns that refract light, bifurcate forms in their visual field, and subtly warp our sense of depth. Monumental yet elusive, Untitled is part of this body of work, but was not created until 2011, when the technology to fulfill Irwin’s exacting sculptural specifications was finally invented—a testament to the artist’s visionary ingenuity.

Donald Judd

One of the most eminent figures of the postwar period, Donald Judd changed the course of modern art in the 1960s as one of the key developers and theorizers of Minimalism. This new, radically reductive visual language investigated perception through an attention to space, architecture, industrial materials, and seriality, among other concerns. With the box as the chief paradigmatic form of Judd’s oeuvre, Untitled is a prime example of his pared-down “specific objects,” which reject the illusionism and expressive compositionality inherent to painting and sculpture. It is made of plywood, a manufactured material that Judd favored for its “blankness” or lack of artistic connotations since the early '70s. The plywood’s plainness heightens the viewer’s attention to other formal aspects—to shifting proportions, shadow play, and alternating openings and enclosures occasioned by the work’s straight and angled panels. The work thus embodies Judd’s ideal that his art operate as “the simple expression of complex thought.”

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Donald Judd, Untitled, 1989, Douglas Fir plywood, 36" x 60" x 60" (91.4 cm x 152.4 cm x 152.4 cm)

Lee Ufan

Korean-born artist-philosopher Lee Ufan emerged in the 1960s as a prominent member of the Japanese avant-garde. He theorized and led Mono-ha (School of Things), one of Japan’s most important movements, which repudiated European modernism’s Cartesian notions by presenting unprocessed things as they are. Since then, he has dedicated his Postminimalist practice to distilling the relationship between space, perception, and objects, engaging viewers in a contemplation of abstract forms of vivid restraint. Part of a series of sculptures begun in 1968, Relatum, as its title suggests, explores the interplay between modernity and nature represented through its juxtaposition of steel and stone respectively. Circumambulating the work, viewers become implicated in this set of spatial and durational relations and are invited to ponder their decentered place within this matrix.

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Lee Ufan, Relatum - Four sides of messengers, 2014, steel plates and stones, 13' 1-1/2" x 8' 2-7/16" x 13/16" (400 cm x 250 cm x 2 cm), four sheets, each Stone 1: 35-7/16" × 47-1/4" × 37-3/8" (90 cm × 120 cm × 95 cm) Stone 2: 38-9/16" × 45-1/4" × 33-7/8" (98 cm × 115 cm × 86 cm) Stone 3: 35-7/16" × 55-1/8" × 47-1/4" (90 cm × 140 cm × 120 cm) Stone 4: 47-1/4" × 47-1/4" × 39-3/8" (120 cm × 120 cm × 100 cm)
Sol LeWitt, Hanging Complex Form, 1989, painted wood, 11' 6" x 3' 4" x 2' 11" (350.5 cm x 101.6 cm x 88.9 cm)

Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt pioneered Minimal and Conceptual art in the 1960s and ‘70s, famously declaring that “the idea becomes the machine that makes the art”—a tenet on which he based his life’s work and which made him one of the most influential artists of his generation. LeWitt’s renowned modular structures originate from his exploration of the cube, a form that inspired him throughout his career. Constructed from painted wood, Hanging Complex Form (1989) descends stalactite-like from the ceiling. Appearing organic in form, it’s structure stems from a rigorous deconstruction of the cube—facets and surfaces no longer bound to the grid yet expanding the frame and relationship to the viewer through a dynamic occupation of space. LeWitt’s triangulated form suggests that the cube has the potential to mutate, yet this new organism also follows rules and has an inbuilt logic, allowing an idea to become the engine for a surprising new sculptural vision.

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Li Songsong

Beijing-based artist Li Songsong is renowned for his densely painted works that thematize the fragmentary nature of images and memory, referencing changes in modern Chinese history. Li’s penetrable sculpture The One amplifies many of the qualities latent in his paintings, notably their ability to stage a physical, tactile encounter through impasto brushwork, an imposing scale, and a disorienting offset grid pattern. In this work, Li wraps the inner walls of a tunnel in ninety-one differently corrugated, aluminum panels that are thickly painted in oils bearing his signature color palette of muted tones. Placing halogen floor lights along the work’s corridor, Li immerses viewers in an eerie environment reminiscent of cinematic, sci-fi settings—for instance, the narrow chambers of spaceships in films such as 2001: A Space Odysssey. In this way, The One points less to China’s past than to a distant, yet-to-be-imagined future and the artist’s visionary experimentality.

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Li Songsong, The One, 2012, Oil on aluminum board, 320 cm x 290 cm x 2,400 cm (126" x 114-3/16" x 944-7/8")
Maya Lin, Latitude New York City, 2013, Vermont Danby marble, 9" x 9' diameter (22.9 cm x 274.3 cm) Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Maya Lin

Maya Lin’s sculptural works take their cues from the natural world and the tremendous shifts resulting from human impact on the landscape. Lin’s floor-based reliefs in marble trace bands around given regions of the earth. Latitude New York City (2013) consists of a carved marble ring based on elevations along the 41st parallel. She develops each work with drawings and computer modelling, balancing “scientific information with the handmade” to produce a sculpture that becomes “its own form—evocative, beautiful, strange.” Related works include Where the Land Meets the Sea (2008), which uses a suspended wire grid to chart the San Francisco Bay above and below sea level; 52 Ways of Looking at the Earth and 52 Ways of Looking at the Ocean (both 2008), for which Lin rendered maps of the earth in longitudinal bands of elevated relief. In each version, Lin translates and employs scientific data to provide an alternate lexicon and form through which we consider the land in a newly formed vision, made beautiful and strange through the twist of recalibrated data.

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Taking an environmental stance, Maya Lin affirms Rebecca Solnit’s claim that “contemporary artists recognize landscape not as scenery but as the space and systems we inhabit, a system our own lives depend upon.” Lin’s longstanding interest in maps first inspired her to create art using atlases: “I would buy them and start cutting into them, making almost sculptural drawings out of them.” Since 2015, she has created installations with glass marbles based on maps of rivers and estuaries. The marbles are those used by artisanal glass blowers, which her father introduced to her when she was eight. Lin recalls, “It was like opening a box of water. They capture light in a way I had never seen.” Fixing marbles across the walls, floor, and ceiling of the exhibition space, the works sit somewhere between drawing and sculpture, detailing the course of waterways necessarily altered in relation to the architecture of the gallery. Folding the Columbia (2017) acknowledges the building’s presence and, through drawing with glass, it’s subversion. “I didn’t want to genuflect to the architecture,” Lin explains. “It’s like water—I just wanted it to flow wherever it could.” Stemming from extensive historical and ecological research, this ongoing project draws attention to environmental degradation and the current biodiversity crisis.

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Maya Lin, Folding the Columbia, 2017, glass marbles and adhesive, 13' × 26' × 1" (396.2 cm × 792.5 cm × 2.5 cm)

Liu Jianhua

Widely celebrated for his installations and mastery of porcelain, Liu Jianhua is ceaselessly uncovering the contemporary artistic potential of this traditional material of Chinese visual culture. A critically praised work when exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale, Square is an installation demonstrating Liu’s unsurpassed virtuosity with ceramics. In this tour-de-force, hard yet fragile porcelain appears to have been metamorphosed into an entirely different substance: delicate, liquid pools of precious gold. By resting these sumptuous, brittle drops on starkly barren steel plates, Liu creates a palpable and captivating tension between these contrasting materials. Through its play with appearance, Square not only challenges our perceptual faculties but also stages a dramatic physical encounter. Viewers must find their way through its mesmerizing maze of highly reflective pools and square platforms—an eloquent, philosophical metaphor addressing the entrapping nature of illusion.

Liu Jianhua, Square (group), 2014, porcelain, steel, variable dimension, 95 plates, 195 golden drops
Yoshitomo Nara, Long Tall Sister, 2012, bronze, 93-1/2" x 59-3/8" x 59-1/2" (237.5 cm x 150.8 cm x 151.1 cm), overall installed 81-3/4" x 47-3/4" x 48" (207.6 cm x 121.3 cm x 121.9 cm), sculpture 11-3/4" x 59-3/8" x 59-1/2" (29.8 cm x 150.8 cm x 151.1 cm), base, Edition of 3 + 2 APs

Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara rose to prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, becoming a central figure of the international contemporary art world. Widely known for his emotionally complex paintings of children set against monochromatic backgrounds, Nara also creates sculptures, ceramics, and installations. Long Tall Sister offers a psychically charged portrait of a young girl, whose truncated figure is reminiscent of the inchoate forms characterizing Nara’s drawings of the late 1980s and early '90s. The monumental bronze was created in the wake of the traumatic Fukushima disaster, when Nara turned to sculpture, a physically demanding medium with which he could wrestle, finding release for his anxieties and sorrows. Marked by agitated hatchings, the sculpture’s highly textured surface acts as a poignant record of the artist’s creative process. It memorializes the loss of innocent lives as much as it evokes the possibility of healing and rebirth.

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Louise Nevelson

Synthetizing the geometry of Cubism with Russian Constructivism and the emotional force of Abstract Expressionism, Louise Nevelson began to redefine abstract sculpture in the 1940s through her monochromatic assemblages using found materials. Her work addresses themes of mortality, marriage, and regality, while also evincing an interest in the dialogue between art and nature. Though Nevelson initially worked with wood, in the 1960s and ‘70s she began exploring industrial materials, notably Cor-Ten steel, which allowed her to grow the scale and complexity of her works and to move her pieces outdoors. Made of Cor-Ten, Night Wall-Frozen Laces is representative of Nevelson’s mature work, with monumental proportions inspired in part by the Mesoamerican architecture she encountered while visiting Mexico and Guatemala. Painted in black—a “total color” that, to Nevelson, “contained all”—the work starkly distinguishes itself from its verdant surrounds while also integrating the outdoors into its structure through its delicate, lace-like perforations.

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Louise Nevelson, Night Wall - Frozen Laces, 1976-80, Cor-ten steel painted black, 11' 6" × 21' 6" × 3' 9" (350.5 cm × 655.3 cm × 114.3 cm), overall 9' 2" × 8' × 4' (279.4 cm × 243.8 cm × 121.9 cm), right 11' × 12' 5" × 2' 6" (335.3 cm × 378.5 cm × 76.2 cm), left
Isamu Noguchi, Spider Dress and Serpent, 1946 (fabricated 1983), brass wire, bronze, 87" x 81-1/4" x 44-3/4" (221 cm x 206.4 cm x 113.7 cm) Edition of 2

Isamu Noguchi

One of the twentieth century’s most important and critically acclaimed sculptors and designers, Isamu Noguchi gained prominence in 1946 when his biomorphic interlocking stone sculptures were included in Fourteen Americans at The Museum of Modern Art. Produced during his early years in Greenwich Village, Spider Dress and Serpent (1946) originally provided a sculptural backdrop and staging for a performance by Martha Graham, one of the founders of contemporary modern dance. Throughout his lifetime, Noguchi collaborated on set designs with a series of influential dancers, choreographers, and musicians from Graham, Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, and George Balanchine to composer John Cage. Integrating Japanese aesthetics with the burgeoning sensibilities and aesthetics of Western modernism, the present work represents a creative and historic exchange between sculptor and performer and a turning point for twentieth-century form and expression.

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Oldenburg/van Bruggen, Leaning Clarinet, 2006, aluminum painted with acrylic polyurethane, 11' 9" x 5' 2" x 2' 8" (358.1 cm x 157.5 cm x 81.3 cm) Edition of 3 + 1 AP

Oldenburg/van Bruggen

Internationally renowned, collaborative duo Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have produced sculpture, drawings, and colossal monuments that transform our ordinary and familiar relationships with objects. The exploration of the musical instrument as subject found its apex in their series The Music Room (1992–2006), where, according to Oldenburg, “subjects are put through several variations of metaphor, and material action, changes of technique and scale, all kinds of transformations—like the melody or theme of a sonata.” The artist asserts that through transformation—as in his soft sculptures— the object acquires “additional identities,” however, it “must still hang on to its original identity in some way.” The sleek yet dynamic-looking Leaning Clarinet from 2006 relates directly to this assertion, evoking numerous associations and identities: the architectural quality of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s large-scale projects, as well as a recognition of George Gershwin’s iconic musical composition Rhapsody in Blue (1924). Comprised of hard materials yet appearing soft, the suggestion of movement, organic form, and its extruded keys encourage the viewer to imagine the passage of breath as a source of vitality, pointing to abstract notions of life in an otherwise inanimate object.

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Lucas Samaras

Lucas Samaras has produced an expansive body of work across media including photography, installation, assemblage, and performance, united by an unceasing attention to the psyche and body. His idea for a mirrored room installation germinated in the early 1960s while developing his first box assemblages, in which he embellished a simple cube with colored yarn, nails, pins, and mirror—a material that spans multiple personal associations, connecting his environments to the autobiographical impulse that informs his oeuvre. Samaras outlined the idea for a full mirrored room in a short story in 1963, and the following year created a model for his first mirrored room using mylar. In 1966 he drew preliminary sketches for Doorway, realizing the work some forty-one years later. Although it maintains the cubic structure of his earlier rooms, it distinguishes itself from the enclosed environments by opening on two sides into an arched or open cube. As a kind of transitory space, Doorway absorbs its surroundings, transforming inaccessible and alien images that can be seen but not touched.

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Lucas Samaras, Doorway, 1966-2007, aluminum, wood and mirrors, 10' 8-3/4" x 10' 1/2" x 12' 9" (327 cm x 306.1 cm x 388.6 cm)
Joel Shapiro, untitled, 2006-2017, bronze, 14' 9" × 11' 4-1/2" × 49-1/2" (449.6 cm × 346.7 cm × 125.7 cm) Edition of 1 + 1 AP

Joel Shapiro

Confounding the distinctions between abstraction and representation, Joel Shapiro’s work has expanded the possibilities of the modern figurative tradition. Composed of rigorously abstract rectangular blocks reminiscent of Minimalist styles, Untitled nevertheless evokes the human figure in a highly inventive and lively pose, conveying a sense of youthful exuberance and buoyancy that belies its weighty medium, bronze. Shapiro’s choice of color—a brilliant red—enhances the sense of boundless energy imbuing the work. By carefully calibrating formal elements, from line to color, Shapiro creates a dynamic sculpture that activates its surrounding space and enlists the viewer in a total perceptual experience.

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