Richard Serra [part #2]
Well the story unfolds a bit more in this evident age of Serra . . . because as it times-out, MOMA is just so happening to have a Serra retrospective up right now. The show is called “Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years” and as retrospectives seem to go . . . there was a lot of work that I had never seen. The stuff from the late 1960’s was made of vulcanized rubber, neon, lead and fiberglass – and I wasn’t a huge fan of it (especially this one piece – “Belts” from 1966-67 that had a series of rubber belts hung on a wall – with the last belt having a neon tube twisted in and around it. This one irked me as particularly annoying because – from my perspective – it was a simple one-shot idea that just didn’t dooooooo anything). It seemed like he really hit upon something when he started playing around with ginormous pieces of steel that threatened viewers with a kind of an object versus human conundrum – a battle that I am pretty sure the objects would have the upper hand if they chose to ever come to that point.
The strangest thing was that while I enjoyed the big pieces in the retrospective . . . they were much less effecting than when I saw them at the Dia. I’m not sure if I should blame this disparity on the different spaces – or possibly from the perpetual exhaustion that overtakes my brain any time that I have been in a museum for more than a couple of hours . . . but it was definitely different.
There is my Richard Serra experience in a nutshell. My review is that they are big and in their best instances – they muss with space and interacting with them makes me feel like an entirely tiny and squishable lump – which is – from where I sit – sometimes a good thing in this world.
To be reminded of how squishable you are – that is . . .
Concerning the "Belts" piece, Robert Morris had that idea covered by then anyway. And even he moved on…
Funny you mention Serra's work getting the upper hand… didn't one of his sculptures fall over and kill some people?