Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Richard Serra at The Nasher Sculpture Center
My Curves Are Not Mad, 1987 Cor-Ten Steel, Overall: 168 x 539 3/8 x 139 in. (426.7 x 1370 x 353.1 cm.) Each plate: 168 x 539 3/8 x 2 in. (426.7 x 1370 x 5.1 cm.) Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas
RECENTLY I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to visit The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. Besides being able to view the installation of a major exhibition of monumental works by British artist Tony Cragg—the building itself was a stunning piece of architecture by Pritzker Prize winner Renzo Piano.
Though The Nasher Sculpture Center provided plenty of art to discuss, I want to write about the incredible work I viewed by Richard Serra (born 1939), entitled “My Curves Are Not Mad.” Imagine the fabrication process of bending and twisting two, 44 feet long, 14 feet high pieces of Cor-Ten steel, metal that weighs over 50 thousand pounds. But this is just the mechanics, the behind-the-scenes part. What I really want to address is the art of Richard Serra.
Choose a vantage point. Pick a time of day. Open your mind and your eyes to the subtle shifts of color and light, in a massive, immovable object that is in no way static. Shape and form become organic, steel becomes inviting and warm, and rust and light speaks to change. My photographs were taken about 1:00 in the afternoon, and the sun was nearly directly overhead. Still, under the Texas sun, these “gently” twisted and flexed sheets of steel fit beautifully into the formal outdoor sculpture garden of the Nasher Sculpture Center.
The Nasher is a lovely place, inside and out. And on this beautiful day—Richard Serra—a man of steel, warmed my heart.
Note: St. Louis is home to two Richard Serra pieces, one of which, entitled “Joe,” is housed at the magnificent Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and the second, which is in a public space at Market Street and 11th, entitled “Twain”.