Richard Serra has been awarded a J. Paul Getty Medal for his contribution to the practice, understanding, and support of the arts. “His monumental works have not only transformed the landscapes in which they are placed,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which established the award in 2013, "they also transform our ideas about sculpture itself." The award will be presented to Serra and fellow 2018 winners Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Agnes Gund, who is president emerita of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, at a dinner at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on September 24.
The news was announced in Artforum.
Image: Richard Serra at Henrichshütte Hattingen Foundry, Germany, overseeing the forging of Weight and Measure (1992)
"The conversation started with language," writes Meeka Walsh, "that non-material stuff, literature being Richard Serra’s undergraduate degree . . . Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance from 1841, with its emphasis on independence and nonconformity, was an early guide to which he has adhered since his student days. For the viewer in the presence of Serra’s work, words nevertheless fail. "
In the insightful interview that follows, Serra touches on subjects including his approach to space, the influence of reading, drawing in Brancusi's studio in Paris, and breaking the chain of art history.
Read more in Border Crossings
Art in America also named Richard Serra: Sculpture and Drawings among their "Editor’s Picks" in December 2017.
Tell Me Something Good: Artist Interviews from The Brooklyn Rail brings together 60 of the New York-based journal's most important interviews, and includes conversations with gallery artists Suzan Frecon, Richard Serra, Luc Tuymans, and Lisa Yuskavage. Selected and co-edited by Jarrett Earnest, a frequent Brooklyn Rail contributor, and Lucas Zwirner, Editorial Director at David Zwirner Books, Tell Me Something Good includes an introduction to the project by Phong Bui as well as hand-drawn portraits of all the artists interviewed for the book. Published by David Zwirner Books
June 24–September 24
Organized in collaboration with the artist, Drawings 2015–2017 was the first museum presentation of recent drawings by Richard Serra. The exhibition included 80 drawings, among them works from the Ramble (2015), Composites (2016), and Rifts (2011–17) series, as well as sketchbooks which have never been shown before. In addition, Serra created two new series entitled Rotterdam Horizontals and Rotterdam Verticals especially for this exhibition.
Drawings 2015-2017 continued the long-standing connection between the artist and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Serra's first solo exhibition at the museum was held in 1980, and marked the creation and permanent installation of the large-scale steel sculpture Waxing Arcs in the entrance area.
Published on the occasion of this exhibition, Richard Serra: Drawings 2015–2017 includes texts by Neil Cox and Francesco Stocchi as well as a chronology of the drawings and a historical text by Albert Camus that was selected by Serra.
May 20–October 15
Richard Serra: Films and Videotapes presented 16 works made between 1968 and 1979. The exhibition was the first comprehensive survey of the artist's films, and screened 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.
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
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