March 28, 2024

r.i.p. richard serra

Richard Serra died this week. Coverage: Artsy, Artnet, NYT (Kimmelman), NYT (Smith).

Here’s Kimmelman on experiencing Serra’s “elliptical mazes of twisted Cor-Ten steel.”

I always found them to be serious fun. They concentrate the mind, stirring fear and anticipation, changing inch by inch, step by step. Serra magically transforms folded, tilting walls of rolled steel into what can almost resemble planes of melted wax. Passages, like caves or canyons, narrow and looming, suddenly open onto clearings.

Google Photos is getting pretty good – here’s a screenshot of the first bit of search results from all the Serras I’ve snapped over the years…

Richard Serra search in my Google Photos

The experience of disappearing into his mazes turned Serra’s sculptures into something remarkably human, almost in spite of their materials, their scale. This short piece from SFMOMA about the installation of his piece Sequence is a great reminder of how Serra’s sculptures bumped up against notions of time, decay, civic infrastructure, personal boundaries and visual perception.