Monumental Richard Serra Sculpture On View at the Glenstone Museum
Beginning June 23, Richard Serra’s monumental sculpture Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure (2017) will join Glenstone Museum’s outdoor sculpture program in a new building open to the public.
Sited along the Woodland Trail in a densely wooded area across a restored stream, the 4,000-square-foot concrete structure was designed by Thomas Phifer of Thomas Phifer and Partners, in collaboration with the artist. The building is the first new construction on Glenstone’s grounds since the opening of the Pavilions in 2018.
One of the most influential artists of his generation, Richard Serra has devoted his decades-long sculpture practice to considering the dynamic between form, space, and material. Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure is his third monumental sculpture at Glenstone, joining Sylvester (2001), the torqued spiral anchoring the entrance to the Gallery building, and Contour 290 (2004), a ribbon of steel bisecting the meadow that sits exactly 290 feet above sea level.
First exhibited at David Zwirner New York in 2017, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure is one work composed of four cylindrical forms forged from steel, each weighing 82 tons—the heaviest form that a foundry is able to forge—but ranging in height and diameter. The surface of each form carries a rich, textured patina imprinted by the intense pressure of the forging process. The work is housed inside an unadorned structure made of cast-in-place concrete that visitors will approach along a winding boardwalk.
“Richard Serra’s work has been a cornerstone in the collection since the museum’s early days,” said Emily Wei Rales, director and co-founder. “He helped build Glenstone’s reputation as a destination for monumental site-specific artwork. The addition of Four Rounds to our outdoor program is made all the more special by the collaborative process between Richard and our architect, Tom Phifer. The building they designed is more than a container for the sculpture; it’s an integral part of the experience. We look forward to sharing the beauty of this extraordinary achievement with our visitors.”
The proportions of the interior building are tuned to the sculpture’s scale and placement. A simple concrete roof is supported by large beams, which serve as walls for the apertures that illuminate the space. White glass skylights bring in diffuse daylight. Variations in light and shadow are dictated by nature, providing visitors an unmediated experience that changes with the season.
“It’s a privilege to work with Glenstone again, all the more so because of the exceptional opportunity to engage with Richard Serra,” Thomas Phifer said. “Together, we were able to consider every detail of how the volume of the space interacts with the masses within, how the different qualities of light filtering down animate the surfaces of the sculpture, how the texture of the building’s concrete enters into dialogue with Serra’s steel. I hope Glenstone’s visitors feel as deeply satisfied as I do when they encounter this combination of place and object that is so apparently simple and elemental in its wholeness, and yet is completely imbued with thought.”
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Cover image: Richard Serra, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, 2017. © 2022 Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York