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David Shapiro: Money is No Object

Sue Scott Gallery
1 Rivington Street, 212-358-8767
East Village / Lower East Side
May 7 - June 19, 2011
Reception: Saturday, May 7, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site


For the entire year of 2010, David Shapiro redrew and repainted all of his bills and receipts.

Sue Scott Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of the resulting work, David Shapiro: Money Is No Object, opening May 7 through June 19, 2011 in conjunction with the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for a New City.

The exhibition consists of 12 vellum scrolls on which Shapiro meticulously and tenderly rendered hundreds of bills, checks, stubs, and receipts with pen and ink, color pencil and gouache. Each scroll — some up to 30 feet in length — contains one month’s worth of bills.

Conceived as a year-long drawing, Money is No Object manages to slow down the world by painstakingly scrutinizing the banal details and monotony of modern life. Redrawing account numbers and bar codes — humanized with handmade mistakes — the work reveals pathos, unforeseen rhythms, rituals and beauty, as it strives to reclaim a fill-in-the-blank life from the forces of corporate reduction.

While the specifics of autobiography are unavoidable — in one passage, the viewer witnesses the irony of Shapiro’s paycheck placed side by side with parking tickets, which instantly soak up half his income – the work can be read as myth, of a struggling artist, and as a narrative, of a father, and a family trying to survive in New York at the turn of the millennium. Honest and bittersweet, at once embarrassingly personal and completely commonplace, Money Is No Object ultimately becomes a reflective surface for viewers to consider the fine print of their own lives.

As a visual artist, David Shapiro is known for making work, which infuses the formal ambiguity of minimal sculpture with humor and personal meaning. Casting faces in tofu, and potatoes in bronze, archiving ephemera of daily life, (he once famously saved his garbage for two years and restocked the results in a gallery), Shapiro misapplies materials and techniques of institutional collection and display to explore the borders of art and life and catalogue the failures of modernism.

Shapiro has had solo exhibitions at LiebmanMagnan, Pierogi and PS1. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including shows at The Brooklyn Museum, the Norton Museum, MoMA, Art Basel, The Armory, and Socrates Sculpture Park. His work has been acquired by many prominent collections. His newly completed September scroll was selected for inclusion in the exhibition “Now WHAT,” at the Norton Museum, featuring a selection of the best work from Art Basel Miami 2010.

Shapiro co-directed Keep the River on Your Right (IFC) in 2001. Based on Tobias Schneebaum’s book, the film won 17 international film awards and played theatrically around the world. Shapiro went on to win the Independent Spirit Award for Best New Director in 2001. His last film, Finishing Heaven (HBO), was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. Shapiro received a BA from the State University of New York, Albany and a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College. He lives and works in Long Island City, New York.

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