Sue Scott Gallery

DAVID SHAPIRO: ‘Money Is No Object’

Holland Cotter
The New York Times, June 2011

Economically speaking, a year in the life of the artist David Shapiro is almost identical to a year in the life of a good many other striving middle-class New York art-worldings. At least that’s the conclusion to be drawn from his minutely detailed, fastidiously executed personal inventory of a solo show. Mr. Shapiro has in the past been a saver (which is not the same thing as a hoarder) of the physical minutiae of daily existence — food containers and the like — which he has offered as accumulative installations. In “Money Is No Object” he takes one step backward on the consumer chain, and a big step forward in the virtuosity stakes: the show consists of every bill and receipt he received during the calendar year of 2010, but all presented in hand-drawn and painted form on 12 long paper scrolls. So, what does his material existence, based mostly in Long Island City, Queens, consist of? Supermarket runs (anchovies, spinach, parsley = $5), movie tickets, parking tickets, Pearl Paint receipts, carbohydrate splurges (one Pain Quotidien brownie at $3.95), a JetBlue flight to Palm Beach, Fla., and back (short vacation), and, of course, monthly telephone charges. I confess, I was heartened to find that his average Verizon bill was identical, almost to the dollar, to mine, which I’d suspected of being uniquely inflated.

Obviously, I spent some time with this show, and I bet you will, too, not just because of the prodigious skills it displays or the sheer patience (or something) it took to create, but because, give or take some particulars, Mr. Shapiro’s life is basically my life, and probably yours. Here he is, turning “average” — us — into art, and there’s joy and some nutty comfort in that.

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