Richard Serra - Biography | David Zwirner

Richard Serra

- Biography

Richard Serra was born in 1938 in San Francisco and lives and works in New York and the North Fork of Long Island. His first significant solo exhibition was held at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, in 1969. His first solo museum exhibition took place at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1970. Serra has since participated in numerous international exhibitions, including documenta (1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987), in Kassel, Germany; the Venice Biennales of 1980, 1984, 2001, and 2013; and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s annual and biennial exhibitions of 1968, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1995, and 2006.

Serra has had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1977-1978; Kunsthalle Tübingen, 1978; Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 1978; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1980; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1983-1984; Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, 1985; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1986; Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, 1986; Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, 1987; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1987; Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1988; Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, 1990; Kunsthaus Zürich, 1990; CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, 1990; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1992; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1992; Dia Center for the Arts, New York, 1997; Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, 1997-1998; Trajan’s Market, Rome, 1999-2000; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, 2003; and Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, 2004. 

In 2005, The Matter of Time, a series of eight large-scale works by Serra from 1994 to 2005, was installed permanently at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and in 2007, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presented the retrospective Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years. Promenade, a major site-specific installation, was shown at the Grand Palais, Paris, for MONUMENTA 2008. In 2011, the artist’s large-scale, site-specific sculpture 7 was permanently installed opposite the Museum of Islamic Art, in Doha, Qatar. A major traveling retrospective dedicated to the artist’s drawings was presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Menil Collection, Houston (which was the organizing venue) from 2011 to 2012.

In 2014, the Qatar Museum Authority presented a two-venue retrospective survey of Serra’s work at the QMA Gallery and the Al Riwaq exhibition space, Doha, and East-West/West-East, 2014, was permanently installed in the Brouq Nature Reserve in the Zekreet desert, Qatar. In 2017, the Museum Wiesbaden hosted an exhibition of the artist’s early work, titled Richard Serra: Props, Films, Early Works. An overview of the artist’s work in film and video was on view at the Kunstmuseum Basel, in 2017; and Serra’s recent drawings were featured in a solo exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, in 2017.

Serra has been the recipient of many notable prizes and awards, including a Leone d’Oro for lifetime achievement, Venice Biennale, Italy (2001); Orden pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste, Federal Republic of Germany (2002); Orden de las Artes y las Letras de España, Spain (2008); Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, Republic of France (2015); and, most recently, a J. Paul Getty Medal (2018) awarded in honor of extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding, and support of the arts.

In 2013 in New York, David Zwirner presented Richard Serra: Early Work, a critically acclaimed exhibition that brought together significant works from 1966 to 1971. The accompanying catalogue extensively covers this period of the artist’s career with a compendium of archival texts and photographs and an essay by Hal Foster. In 2014, the gallery presented an exhibition of new drawings, Richard Serra: Vertical and Horizontal Reversals, in New York; a catalogue accompanied the exhibition and included an essay by Gordon Hughes. Richard Serra: Equal, an installation in forged weatherproof steel, was presented at David Zwirner, New York, in 2015. That work is now in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2016, David Zwirner Books/Steidl published Richard Serra: Forged Steel, which surveys the artist’s work in forged steel since 1977 and features scholarship by Richard Shiff and texts by the artist. In 2017, the gallery presented an exhibition of new sculptures and drawings by the artist at its New York location, and in 2018 the gallery’s Hong Kong location presented Richard Serra Drawings.

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