Richard Serra b. 1939


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Richard Serra is an American minimalist sculptor known for his sheet metal installations. He earned his B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1961 and his M.F.A. from Yale University School of Art and Architecture in 1964. Serra was inspired by the teachers and artists that he met at Yale, most notably Philip Guston and Chuck Close. He was also influenced by his work in steel mills as a teenager and his father's job as a pipe-fitter.


Serra was involved with the Process Art Movement, which concentrates on the physical process of art making and the characteristics of the materials utilized. In 1966, he made his first sculptures out of industrial materials as fiberglass and rubber. He experimented by throwing molten lead against his studio wall, later turning to rolling, cutting, propping and stacking. In the 1970s, Serra began his series of large-scale Installation Drawings, which pinned directly to the wall and painted in black paintstick. His work examines ideas of space and form, as well as the tension between gravity and weight. His enormous sculptures are supported by their own weight, drawing attention to the nature of the material. Serra once said that his goal is "to engage the viewer's body relation to his thinking and walking and looking, without being overly heavy-handed about it," and that art is a "broadening of experiences."


 The sculptor has also created multiple site-specific works for collections worldwide, including Snake, a 180-ton trio of sinuous steel sheets, permanently located in the largest gallery of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and specifically created for the museums inauguration in 1997. Other commissioned works include Tilted Arc (1981) in New York City and Fulcrum (1987), a 55-foot Cor-ten steel sculpture near Liverpool Street Station in London.


Richard Serra has work featured in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Dia Art Foundation in Beacon, the MoMA in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art, the LACMA, the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, the Museum Ludwig in Köln, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Nassau County Museum of Art, the Courtauld in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


Related Categories: Process Art, Post-minimalism, Large-Scale Sculpture, Post-War American Art, Outdoor Art, California Art, Abstract Sculpture, Site Specific Art, Line, Form and Color, Sparse, Primary Abstraction, Focus on Materials, Curvilinear Forms, Sculpture, Linear Forms, Angular, United States, Installation, Work on Paper.