Born in New York City, Joel Shapiro reveived a MA from New York University. He taught sculpture at Hofstra University in New York and he won a Visual Arts Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. He was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, a Merit Medal for Sculpture by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and he was elected to the Swedish Royal Academy of Art.
His angular, geometric sculptures reference the human body in various positions and forms. Shapiro's work bridges the gap between abstract and figurative sculpture in a keenly post- minimalist manner. In his prints, Shapiro often uses the same formal vocabulary to suggest a human presence, but generally is more concerned with the creation of spatial relationships.