Sue Scott Gallery

David Shapiro: Jack the Pelican Gallery

Peter Lasell
Flash Art, January 2004

At first glance David Shapiro's Consumed seems a little simplistic in its approach. The Williamsburg artist has filled the space of Jack the Pelican Gallery with two years' worth of Packaging from everything the artist consumed.

Like a bodega or a small market, items are lined up categorically on white double-sided shelving units. Signs overhead indicate what is located where, and a monologue. supplied by Shapiro is audible from above. Gallerygoers are allowed to peruse the
aisles and contemplate how someone could drink that much alcohol, use that much detergent, or drink that much water. Consumed at its most effeclive, is an excellent self-portrait in which Shapiro attempts to prove literally the euphemism that "you are what
you eat." Given time, I could only reflect on my own habits of consumption, making the piece a sort of anti-capitalist statement. In examining Shapiro's self-portrait my own came into focus, which was the strongest gesture of the installation.

The weakest aspect of the show is Shapiro's self-reflective monologue. Paradoxically, instead of clarifying the artists' intent, it leaves the work feeling hollow. Giving the viewer a
blank slate to reflect on may have been more powerful. The show as a whole, however, is sharp-witted. suggesting an interesting artistic future.