Richard Serra [part #1]

Richard Serra is a name that I have heard bandied about for awhile when I was in an art history class or in a conversation about big honking sculpture that was heroic in the amount of testosterone that was used in the process of making it – types of conversations.

Okay – I will admit that there probably weren’t very many of either of the aforementioned conversational varieties being kicked around in my world lately – as art history class happened a long time ago and I have always kind of shied away from conversations where (about) sculptors (who) feel the need to flex their muscles . . . Instead I seem to lean more towards the direction of smaller more personal pieces – which is odd on a completely different front – because – as you will read – gargantuan sculpture seen in the wild (if it is done properly) is kind of fun to see – sometimes it can feel like coming up on some crazy relic from the past – or something.

So – anyway – as I was saying – Richard Serra wasn’t ever really on my radar. I can’t even pinpoint when I first saw one of his pieces . . . so I may go on in life chirping that this-time-here-now is the first time that I have seen his work. Just for the sake of making it easy.

The Dia:Beacon is an art museum located on the Hudson river in Beacon, New York (you know that is my train stop – right?) in what used to be the National Biscuit Carton Making and Printing Plant. It is a super nice old renovated factory with a lot of brick, concrete floors and a nifty roof that has these architectural features (kind of skylights) that bring in bunches of natural light which bounces/diffuses off of the walls and ceilings to light the place very nicely. It is a great place to see art.

I was there recently – doing what I do – you know – walking around looking at stuff – and then there was this room. A huge big long room like you can only find in a factory. And it was filled with several Serra sculptures. They dominated the space in a crazy way that messed with my equilibrium. I think that the thought process went something like – jeez, those are big – i am kind of tiny – how did they get into this building – are they going to topple over an smush me – why do i feel dizzy – i can walk into them – and so on. They had this great presence where it kind of felt like they belonged there – maybe even more than I did – or something. It was a blast walking around them and through them . . . they kind of altered the space.

I read a quote from Serra in an article on CNN where he says: “The subject matter” of this work, he tells you, “is your personal experience of walking into and through and around. There really isn’t any content until you fulfill your exploration” of a piece. So I figure that my brain and I must kind of be on the right path – at least when responding to large pieces of slightly rusty steel.

Was I now a fan of Richard Serra?!

[to be continued – kitten]

1 reply
  1. bobo
    bobo says:

    yah, I like his stuff too. my better 1/2 had his piece "charlie brown" in the lobby of her office building and it was really cool to go stand inside of.

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