Joe Chirchirillo has been creating sculpture since the early 1970’s. After attending college in New York and Arizona, he moved to the New York Metro area and settled in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1979. He was part of the first wave of artists moving to this outpost across the Hudson, building the budding art scene there. In the early 1980's he was involved with artists from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who were putting on large shows in abandoned buildings and blighted urban lots. These artist-run shows, such as the “Monument Redefined” and the “Terminal Show”, were huge public events. The Terminal Show took place in the abandoned Bush Terminal, made famous as a major shipping center for material in both WWI and WWII. In true gorilla art form, “Monument Redefined” was organized in a lot in Red Hook on the Brooklyn waterfront. Both received tremendous attention from viewers and critics alike. At this time Mr. Chirchirillo’s work was reviewed in Art Forum, Art in America, Vanity Fair and on numerous occasions in the New York Times.
His work in these shows were the basis for his 1986 NEA fellowship. In his words" I have never been interested in making sculpture that is purely architectural or organic in look or feel. I have been searching for different materials and methods to express my thoughts. My sculpture is conceptual, based on a process through which my ideas become real as the piece is built.” Corporations such as KPMG Peat Marwick and Mutual Benefit Life added pieces by Joe Chirchirillo to their collections in these years.
In the 1990’s he began to experiment with kinetic sculpture. Looking for a way to examine the similarities and contrasts between the natural and mechanical world. During these years he had several successful one-man shows in Manhattan and large firms such as Cleary Gottlieb and Skadden Arps purchased pieces for their offices. Pushing his ideas even further, he began creating sculpture based on cycles in nature. For the last 10 years he has been working on his “Sculpture Systems” series. The aim of this work is to create “nature machines” that mimic natural processes.
He moved to Vermont eight years ago. Since then he has focused on creating outdoor sculpture. Water is one of the central elements of the sculpture just as it was in the “Sculpture Systems” series. Most of this work is created by casting concrete into wood forms.