Obsession is what it comes down to. It is difficult to think without obsession, and it is impossible to create something without a foundation that is rigorous, incontrovertible, and, in fact, to some degree repetitive. Repetition is the ritual of obsession. Repetition is a way to jumpstart the indecision of beginning. To persevere and to begin over and over again is to continue the obsession with work. Work comes out of work. In order to work you must already be working.
One of the most significant artists of his generation, he has produced large-scale, site-specific sculptures for architectural, urban, and landscape settings spanning the globe, from Iceland to New Zealand.
Born in 1938 in San Francisco, Richard Serra lives and works in New York and on the North Fork of Long Island. Serra attended the University of California, Berkeley before transferring to the University of California, Santa Barbara graduating with a BA in English literature; he then studied painting at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut completing both a BFA and MFA. He began showing with Leo Castelli in 1968, and his first solo exhibition in New York was held at the Leo Castelli Warehouse the following year. His first solo museum exhibition was held at the Pasadena Art Museum, California, in 1970.
Serra’s sculptures and drawings have been celebrated with two retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, twenty years apart: Richard Serra/Sculpture (1986) and Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years (2007). He has had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1977–78); Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany (1978); Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (1978); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (1980, 2014, and 2017); Centre Pompidou, Paris (1983–84); Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (1985); Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark (1986); Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, Germany (1987); Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (1987); Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (1988); Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, Netherlands (1990); Kunsthaus Zürich (1990); CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (1990); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1992); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (1992); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1997); Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro (1997–98); Trajan’s Market, Rome (1999–2000); Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis (2003); and Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy (2004).
In 2005 The Matter of Time (1994–2005), a series of eight large-scale works, was installed permanently at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain. For Monumenta 2008, the major site-specific installation Promenade was shown at the Grand Palais, Paris. Three years later the large-scale, site-specific sculpture 7 was permanently installed opposite the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. A major traveling retrospective dedicated to Serra’s drawings was presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Menil Collection, Houston (the organizing venue), from 2011 to 2012.
In 2014 the Qatar Museums Authority presented a two-venue retrospective survey of Serra’s work, and East-West/West-East (2014) was permanently installed in the Brouq Nature Reserve, Zekreet, Qatar. In 2017 the Museum Wiesbaden, Germany, presented Richard Serra: Props, Films, Early Works; an overview of Serra’s work in film and video was shown at the Kunstmuseum Basel; and recent drawings were featured at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Serra has participated in numerous major international exhibitions, including Documenta (1972, 1977, 1982, and 1987), and the Biennale di Venezia (1980, 1984, 2001, and 2013), and his work has been included in many Whitney Annuals and Biennials (1968, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1995, and 2006). He is the recipient of the Leone d’Oro for lifetime achievement, Biennale di Venezia, Venice (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); President’s Medal, Architectural League of New York (2014); Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, Republic of France (2015); and J. Paul Getty Medal (2018).
Since 1983 Gagosian has presented more than thirty solo exhibitions of Serra’s work in the US and Europe.
April 6–May 25, 2018
Grosvenor Hill, London
Extended through April 13, 2017
NJ-2, Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, Rotate
October 1, 2016–April 13, 2017
Britannia Street, London
September 15–December 17, 2016
Davies Street, London
May 7–July 29, 2016
West 21st Street, New York
Extended through October 22, 2016
Above Below Betwixt Between, Every Which Way, Silence (For John Cage), Through
May 7–October 22, 2016
West 24th Street, New York
Extended through April 16, 2016
January 28–April 16, 2016
September 26–October 24, 2015
980 Madison Avenue, New York
October 11–November 22, 2014
Davies Street, London
From the Quarterly
Fairs, Events & Announcements
NY Art Book Fair
September 21–23, 2018, project space room, booth S202
MoMA PS1, New York
Gagosian is participating in the NY Art Book Fair 2018 with a special project space conceived in collaboration with choreographer William Forsythe, exploring visual and notational approaches to dance and movement. Forsythe is a radical innovator in choreography and dance who has redefined the very syntax and praxis of his field. In the course of his singular career spanning five decades, he has developed an extensive repertoire of groundbreaking ballet choreographies and experimental, non-proscenium-based dance-theater works, as well as an open-access digital platform for dance analysis, notation, and improvisation.
At the NYABF, printed materials and videos by Forsythe are featured alongside selected Gagosian publications, as well as additional books and ephemera that reveal Forsythe’s wide-ranging influences and interests including Chris Burden, Katharina Grosse, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, and Rachel Whiteread.
William Forsythe, Lectures from Improvisation Technologies, 2011, performed by William Forsythe © William Forsythe
Richard Serra will be presented with the J. Paul Getty Medal to honor his creation of artwork that transforms our ideas about sculpture. The event will take place at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on September 24, 2018.
Photo: Jason Andrew/Getty Images
Hal Foster on Richard Serra
Saturday, October 27, 2018, 3–4pm
Royal Academy, London
Hal Foster will speak with Briony Fer about Conversations about Sculpture (2018), his new book co-authored with Richard Serra, which looks at the life and work of the artist. Foster will discuss his conversations with the celebrated artist regarding his prolific six-decade career and the ideas that have informed his working practice.
Artwork © 2018 Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Sandy Tait
Praying for Time
March 2–July 8, 2018
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the attacks of September 11, and civil war, the end of the twentieth century can also be viewed as a time that presaged immense global revolutions, both social and digital, that have transformed our world. Praying for Time reflects the diversity of voices and concerns in art produced during that pivotal period from 1980 through the early 2000s. Work by Gregory Crewdson, Ellen Gallagher, Richard Prince, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol is included.
Ellen Gallagher, Untitled (10), 2000 © Ellen Gallagher
We Are Here
August 19, 2017–April 1, 2018
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
In honor of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s fiftieth anniversary, the museum presents We Are Here, a three-part exhibition drawn from its collection. I Am You gathers works that question how we relate to and shape our environments; You Are Here examines how the role of the viewer has changed over time; and We Are Everywhere showcases artists who borrow from popular culture. Work by Richard Artschwager, Francis Bacon, Chris Burden, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Michael Heizer, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, Andy Warhol, and Franz West is included.
Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986 © Jeff Koons.
Photo by Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago
Proof of Life
May 19, 2017–February 25, 2018
Weserburg | Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany
Proof of Life brings together one hundred paintings, sculptures, and photographic works that investigate existential questions in a manner both palpable and profound. Work by Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Anselm Kiefer, Sterling Ruby, and Richard Serra is included.
Installation view, Proof of Life, Weserburg | Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen, Germany, May 19, 2017–February 25, 2018. Photo: Björn Behrens
Films and Videotapes
May 20–October 15, 2017
The exhibition turns the focus on Serra’s films and videotapes. Between 1968 and 1979, the artist produced fifteen films and videos. This is the first exhibition to present almost all that material, which runs to just over five hours, in the original formats.
Film still from Richard Serra, Robert Bell, and Carlota Schoolman’s Prisoner’s Dilemma (1974)