Serra, Richard

Serra, Richard,

1939–, American sculptor, b. San Francisco; grad. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., 1961), Yale (B.F.A., M.F.A., 1974). Many of his early works (1960s) are cast in rubber or lead. Later, using metals, concrete, fiberglass, and other materials, he created large-scale abstract sculptures that were usually intended for specific outdoor sites. His Tilted Arc (1981) achieved notoriety when nearby office workers demanded its removal from a site in lower Manhattan. Perceived as menacing, the elegant 120-ft (37-m) curving sheet of rusting steel was dismantled in 1989. In the ensuing years Serra's huge, curved, torqued, space-enclosing, and space-defining steel sculptures, best experienced not by simply looking at them, but by wandering through and around them, have become extremely popular and are widely regarded as among the most significant abstract sculptures of the late 20th and early 21st cent. These sculptures are divided into two main types: forged pieces of enormous density and lighter plate-steel pieces. More than 100 of his commissioned sculptures have been placed in cities throughout the world. His works are included in many major museum collections; an eight-part, more than 430-ft-long (131-m) assemblage of his massive, rust-patinated steel sculpture was permanently installed (2005) at the Guggenheim's Bilbao branch. Equal (2015), consisting of eight 40-ton forged-steel blocks, is installed in its own gallery at New York's Museum of Modern Art.


See Richard Serra: Writings/Interviews (1994); C. Weyergraf-Serra and M. Buskirk, ed., The Destruction of Tilted Arc: Documents (1991); K. McShine et al., Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years (2007); studies by R. Krauss (1986) and H. Foster, ed. (2000).

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Serra, Richard (Anthony)

(1939–  ) sculptor; born in San Francisco. He worked in a steel plant during his schooling at the University of California, studied with Josef Albers at Yale (M.F.A. 1964), traveled in Italy (1964–65), and settled in New York City. He is known for his gravity series, such as Belts (1966–67), and his large metal plate works, as in House of Cards (1969). His minimalist approach to sculpture has not appealed to some viewers, and one of his works, Tilted Arc (1981), installed on the plaza of the Jacob Javits Federal Building in New York City, was ordered removed (1985) because of adverse public reactions.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Serra, Richard. Richard Serra: Writings, Interviews, etc.
The pages of this publication, in which the "anti-form" tendency was so forcefully highlighted, must have been a gold mine: one can easily detect echoes not only of Morris, Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Richard Tuttle, and Bruce Nauman but also of figures who are less conspicuous today (e.g., Keith Sonnier, Alan Safer, Barry Le Va).