In two weeks, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art will launch its first exhibition of works from its 2016 multi-million dollar acquisition of more than 700 works of art by David Shapiro.
The exhibition is an introduction to his numerous themes, his processes, and the intended meaning of his work, museum officials said in a news release on Thursday. “David Shapiro: Seer, Actor, Knower, Doer” will feature more than 30 works in three galleries at the museum from Sept. 16- Feb. 2.
When the museum received the donation from Shapiro’s estate in 2016, the more than 200 paintings and more than 500 prints had an estimated value of $6.2 million. It was the largest in scope and highest in value of any gift the museum.
The statement from the museum on the exhibition said its focus will be on “Shapiro’s approach to abstract painting, with his unique combination of geometric patterns adopted by artists of the 1970s with the expressive marks and sensual colors allowed by the next generation of artists in the 1980s.”
Museum officials said Shapiro’s study and practice of Buddhism shaped his work, and he also was influenced by “Asian art which taught him an appreciation for stillness, simplicity and the beauty of calligraphic line. Shapiro internalized these influences, mixed them with his own spirituality, and fused them into a way of working and a style that were distinctly his own. The title phrase Seer, Actor, Knower, Doer comes from a series of Shapiro’s paintings by the same name, but those words also embody the complex depths of the person and artistry of David Shapiro,” the release said.
In announcing the exhibition, museum CEO and Chief Curator Charles Shepard added, “Before his untimely death in 2014, David Shapiro had already secured his place in the history of contemporary art by having major museums around the world add both his paintings and prints to their highly regarded collections. That said, the full impact of David’s contributions to the aesthetics of American painting and printmaking in the late 20th/early 21st centuries has yet to be recognized. Alongside artists like Steven Sorman, Kenny Noland, Bob Mangold, and Frank Stella, David Shapiro’s deep and contemplative work advanced abstraction and serious art-making in an increasingly market-driven art world that prospered, predominantly, on sensationalism.”