978-0-914357-63-6 / 9780914357636

Richard Serra Sculpture, 1985-1998: Sculpture, 1985-1998


Publisher:The Museum of Contemporary Art / Steidl, Gottingen



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About the book:

In 1996, internationally distinguished sculptor Richard Serra achieved an unparalleled technical and conceptual feat: the creation of forms never before seen in either art or architecture. "They are vessels that you walk into," said Serra of his 13-foot-high bent steel works, called Torqued Ellipses. Imagine standing within an oval-shaped space on the ground with high, curved walls simultaneously rising and seemingly rotating around you. From inside the Ellipses it seems that the walls continuously lean in or out in either direction, creating an unfamiliar and disorienting experience. The pieces were installed at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, during the fall and winter of 1998-99. Richard Serra: Sculpture 1985-1998 is the comprehensive catalog to that show; it also documents more than a decade of Serra's output. A complement to the physical and visual weight of Serra's austere and massive steel sculptures, this handsome hardcover is printed on 240 pages of heavy gloss stock, amply illustrated with 271 plates. It includes strikingly composed black-and-white photographs and a number of insightful sketches and diagrams that should help even readers who haven't seen the pieces firsthand envisage their force.

In his introductory essay titled "The Un/Making of Sculpture," prominent art critic Hal Foster offers a series of notes inspired by Serra's 1976 response to the question "What does making sculpture mean to you right now?" Foster discusses Serra's engagement with historical precedents in art and architecture, his use of steel and the language of industrial production, and the dynamic he creates between his sculptures, their specific sites, and their viewers. Many of the plates are accompanied by Serra's own comments, which, in addition to a lengthy interview with David Sylvester, further elucidate his process and key concerns, making the depth and breadth of his work accessible to even first-time viewers. These informative texts, as well as an exhibition chronology and selected bibliography, make this book a standout. --A.C. Smith

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