Sue Scott Gallery

Truly Tasteless Medium

Ben Katchor
The New Yorker, October 1999

Forget elephant dung. By far the most remarkable art material of the young season is tofu,
which Manhattan native David Shapiro has crafted into life masks, for his show at Liebman Magnan (through Oct. 16). "Tofu's just steamed soy milk and calcium sulfate, which is edible plaster of Paris, pressed hydraulically," says Shapiro, who was able to turn inspiration (his eureka moment came while eating Malaysian food) into reality, partly because he then lived down the street from a tofu factory. The heads last about two weeks,  he explains, if you change the water every day. "They're classical, in a way, like marble. Except they rot. Like people."

David Shapiro—Life masks of couples, cast in tofu, displayed in vats of water, in a refrigeration unit, and a video game (produced by John Grosh, of Jed Brain Pictures),  based on a bad LSD trip he endured as a teen-ager, which ended with him naked  on the
L.l.R.R,  Through Oct. 16. (Liebman Magnan, 552 W. 24th St. 255-3225.)