In Neo-Neo-Classical Glam Trash, David Shapiro paints iconic monochromatic watercolor portraits of public figures as mediated through fashion photography and decrepit ancient sculpture. The poetic interplay among these celebrities, from Aphrodite to Tila Tequila, creates a trans-historical micro-canon, a watercolor repository of key mythic archetypes embedded in seemingly far-flung templates of beauty. By re-positioning the photographic detritus of beauty in fine drawing, Shapiro re-negotiates the valences of popular imagery and draws connections across a broad swath of history.
Shapiro’s mode of signification is a mythic one because it occurs at the second order, involving the re-ordering or curating of complete aesthetic signs. His manner, like Pier Paolo Pasolini’s in film, is one of “mythic realism,” in which an iconic face of even the most lucid surface detail leads not back to itself but rather to a Platonic archetype.