49 Facts About Richard Serra


Richard Serra was born on November 2,1938 and is an American artist known for his large-scale sculptures made for site-specific landscape, urban, and architectural settings.


Since the mid-1960s, Richard Serra has worked to radicalize and extend the definition of sculpture beginning with his early experiments with rubber, neon, and lead, to his large-scale steel works.


Richard Serra studied English literature at the University of California, Berkeley in 1957 before transferring to the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduating in 1961 with a BA in English Literature.


In Santa Barbara, Richard Serra met the muralists, Rico Lebrun and Howard Warshaw.


Richard Serra studied painting at Yale University and graduated with both a BA in Art History and an MFA in 1964.


At Yale Richard Serra met visiting artists from the New York School such as Philip Guston, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, and Frank Stella.


In 1964, Richard Serra was awarded a one-year traveling fellowship from Yale and went to Paris where he met the composer Philip Glass who became a collaborator and long-time friend.


In Paris, Richard Serra spent time sketching in Constantine Brancusi's studio, partially reconstructed inside the Musee national d'art modern on the avenue President Wilson, allowing Richard Serra to study Brancusi's work, later drawing his own sculptural conclusions.


Richard Serra spent the following year in Florence, Italy on a Fulbright Grant.


Richard Serra had his first one-person exhibition "Animal Habitats" at Galleria Salita, Rome.


Richard Serra returned from Europe and moved to New York City in 1966.


Richard Serra continued his constructions using experimental materials such as rubber, latex, fiberglass, neon, and lead.


Richard Serra used lead in many of his constructs because of its adaptability.


In 1968 Richard Serra was included in the group exhibition "Nine at Castelli" at Castelli Warehouse in New York where he showed Prop, Scatter Piece, and made Splashing by throwing molten lead against the angle of the floor and wall.


Richard Serra then pulled the casting made from the hardened lead away from the wall and repeated the action of splashing and casting creating a series of free-standing forms.


Richard Serra wanted to move away from the wall to remove what he thought was a pictorial convention.


Richard Serra wedged an 8 by 24-foot plate of steel into a corner and divided the room into two equal spaces.


Richard Serra spent ten weeks building a number of ephemeral stacked steel pieces at the Kaiser Steelyard.


The scale of the stacks allowed Richard Serra to begin think of his work outside the confines of gallery and museum spaces.


In 1970 Richard Serra received a Guggenheim Fellowship and traveled to Japan.


Richard Serra's intention was for the plates to act as cuts in the landscape that function as surrogate horizons as viewers walked amongst them.


In 1988 Richard Serra was invited by the National Gallery of Iceland to build a work.


Richard Serra chose Videy Island as the site for Afangar.


Richard Serra chose the site because of its proximity to a high traffic area.


In 1980 Richard Serra installed two sculptures, with support of the Public Art Fund, in New York City.


St John's Rotary Arc, one of Richard Serra's earliest curved sculptures, was 12 feet high and spanned 180 feet.


Richard Serra has had numerous exhibitions in gallery and museum settings.


Berlin Block was Richard Serra's first forged sculpture.


Richard Serra's most known series of sculpture using rolled steel plates are the Torqued Ellipses.


In 1991 Richard Serra visited Borromini's Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome and mistook the ovals of the dome and the floor to be offset from one another.


Richard Serra thought to make a sculpture in this torqued form.


Richard Serra constructed models of this perceived form in his studio by cutting two ellipse-shaped pieces of wood and nailing a dowel between them.


Richard Serra then turned the ellipses so they were at a right angle to one another and wrapped a sheet of lead around the form.


Richard Serra chose to include five sculptures derived from the initial torqued ellipse: one single, one double ellipse, and three torqued spirals.


The Torqued Spirals followed after the Double Torqued Ellipses when Richard Serra decided to connect a double ellipses into one wound form that can be entered and walked through.


In 2008 Richard Serra participated in Monumenta, an annual exhibition held in Paris's Grand Palais featuring a single artist.


For Monumenta Richard Serra installed a single sculpture, Promenade, consisting of five plates, each 55 feet tall and 13 feet wide, placed 100 feet apart from one another across the cavernous interior of the Grand Palais.


Richard Serra makes drawings on large sheets of canvas or handmade paper.


Richard Serra's drawings are primarily done in paintstick, lithographic crayon, or charcoal and are always black.


Richard Serra often pushes the conventions of drawing towards a tactile, phenomenological experience of movement, time and space.


Richard Serra has made over 200 printed works and like his sculpture and drawing, his prints reflect an interest in process, scale, and experimentation with material.


That same year Richard Serra begin to make larger-scale prints such as Malcolm X; Goslar, or The Moral Majority Sucks.


Richard Serra did so by first applying a layer of ink onto the paper.


Richard Serra continued to work this his silkscreen technique, sometimes combining it with etching and aquatint.


From 1968 to 1979 Richard Serra made a collection of films and videos.


Richard Serra collaborated with several artists including Joan Jonas, Nancy Holt, and Robert Fiore, on his films and videos.


In 2019 Richard Serra donated his entire film and video works to The Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Richard Serra's work is included in many museums and public collections around the world.


Richard Serra bought a house in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1970 and spent summers working there.