Richard Serra
Richard Serra: Films and Videotapes
Solo exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel
Richard Serra
Hands Tied, 1968

May 20 - October 15

Richard Serra: Films and Videotapes presents 16 works made between 1968 and 1979. The exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist's films, and screens the works in their original 16mm format.

As Ken Johnson wrote in The New York Times, Serra's early films "insist on material conditions." Created in the same period as his initial experiments with materials such as vulcanized rubber and lead, Serra's films anticipate his ongoing focus on the spatial and temporal properties of sculpture. Included in this exhibition is the artist's first film, Hand Catching Lead (1968), which reflects his distinctive interest in the interplay of gravity and material.

Artist Profile by The Museum of Modern Art in New York
Richard Serra discusses his work Equal

In a video profile by The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Richard Serra describes the ideas and process behind Equal (2015), from forging the steel to the encounter with the finished work. This monumental installation was acquired by the museum in 2015 following its debut presentation at David Zwirner in New York the same year. In his review of the gallery exhibition, art critic Jerry Saltz stated in New York Magazine, "This is his best show in more than 15 years of great shows, and it resounds with a complexity and cosmic instability not seen in solitary objects since Giorgio Morandi's miraculous vibrating arrangements."

Accompanying the presentation of Equal at David Zwirner was the publication of Richard Serra: Forged Steel, with texts by Serra and Richard Shiff. Produced in close collaboration with the artist, the book is the first in-depth overview of his work using this material. Published by David Zwirner Books | Steidl

Major public Commissions and Exhibitions in Qatar
2011, 2014
Qatar Museums initiated Richard Serra’s largest ever permanent installations and his first exhibitions in the Middle East
Richard Serra
East-West/West-East, 2014

In 2011 and 2014, Qatar Museums commissioned Richard Serra to create permanent, site-specific public sculptures in Qatar. 7 and East-West/West-East are the artist's largest works to date.

7, a sculpture composed of seven steel plates, was erected in 2011 on a pier extending out from the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park in Doha, adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art designed by I.M. Pei. The plates, each of which is 78 feet high and eight feet wide, are arranged in a heptagonal configuration. 7 is Serra's tallest sculpture to date, and his first public work in the Middle East.

In 2014, a second major commission resulted in the permanent installation of a line of four vertical steel plates (two plates measure 55 and two 48 feet high, while all four are 13 feet wide) in The Brouq Nature Reserve in the Zekreet Desert outside Doha in Qatar. East-West/West-East extends over roughly half a mile—the largest area of any work by Serra. “East-West/West-East towers with the grandeur of Stonehenge or the ruins of a classical city,” wrote Hyperallergic, “and more than any work of Serra’s I’ve ever encountered it establishes an organic relationship to its surroundings, the steel plates as much a reference to the earth’s elemental forces and materials as they are to human industry.”

Also in 2014, Qatar Museums organized two concurrent presentations of Serra’s work in Doha, marking his first exhibitions in the Middle East. At the QMA Gallery in the Katara cultural village, a retrospective exhibition included One Ton Prop (House of Cards) (1969), The Consequence of Consequence (2011), Double Torqued Ellipse (1999), and works on paper from 2013. A new work titled Passage of Time occupied the entirety of the Al Riwaq exhibition space. "In addition to the permanent pieces,” Hyperallergic observed, “two gallery shows allow viewers to take in the full sweep of Serra’s four-plus decades as one of America’s—and the world’s—foremost sculptors."

The publication Richard Serra accompanied the two permanent installations and the exhibitions in Qatar. Published by Steidl

Read more: an interview with the artist in The New Yorker about East-West/West-East, and a profile in The Wall Street Journal Magazine featuring the public installations in Qatar.