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.
Extended through January 11, 2020
September 17, 2019–January 11, 2020
555 West 24th Street, New York
Extended through April 13, 2017
NJ-2, Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, Rotate
October 1, 2016–April 13, 2017
Britannia Street, London
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2022
The Winter 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Anna Weyant’s Two Eileens (2022) on its cover.
Richard Serra: Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Alina Ibragimova
Violinist Alina Ibragimova performs Bach’s Sonata for Solo Violin No. 1 in G Major: Adagio (BWV 1001, c. 1720) from within Richard Serra’s sculpture Transmitter (2020) at Gagosian, Le Bourget. Organized by Bold Tendencies, a nonprofit organization that commissions artists to produce site-specific projects and present performances, in collaboration with Gagosian, this recorded performance took place on May 8, 2022 before a live concert of Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time, 1941).
Richard Serra: Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Mario Brunello
Cellist Mario Brunello performs Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude (BWV 1007, c. 1717–23) within Richard Serra’s sculpture Transmitter (2020) at Gagosian, Le Bourget. Organized by Bold Tendencies—a nonprofit that commissions artists to produce site-specific projects and present performances—in collaboration with Gagosian, this recorded performance took place on May 8, 2022, before a live concert of Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time, 1941).
From Richard Serra: Trevor Noah’s Message Against Racial Injustice
In response to enduring racial injustices and the recent widespread civil unrest, Richard Serra urges people to watch this video commentary by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show.
The Art of Perception: Richard Serra’s Films
For eleven years, from 1968 to 1979, Richard Serra created a collection of films and videos that felt out the uncharted phenomenological boundaries of the medium. Carlos Valladares explores a selection of these works.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Intimate Grandeur: Glenstone Museum
Paul Goldberger tracks the evolution of Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland. Set amid 230 acres of pristine landscape and housing a world-class collection of modern and contemporary art, this graceful complex of pavilions, designed by architects Thomas Phifer and Partners, opened to the public in the fall of 2018.
Art Basel Miami Beach 2022
December 1–3, 2022, booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.
Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Quartet for the End of Time
In Richard Serra’s “Transmitter”
Sunday, May 8, 2022, 4pm
Gagosian, Le Bourget
Join Gagosian and Bold Tendencies, a nonprofit organization that commissions artists to produce site-specific projects and present performances, for a live concert of Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time). Written in 1941 during the French composer’s imprisonment in a German labor camp, the powerful piece comprises eight movements for clarinet, violin, cello and piano. It will be performed by musicians Nicolas Baldeyrou, Mario Brunello, Alina Ibragimova, and Samson Tsoy both within and beside Richard Serra’s sculpture Transmitter (2020), creating a dialogue between sound, material, and space. To attend the event, register at eventbrite.com.
Richard Serra, Transmitter, 2020 © 2022 Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes
The Met 150
Limited-Edition Print Portfolio
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has released The Met 150, a limited-edition print portfolio featuring works by twelve contemporary artists from around the world who have a strong history and connection with the museum, including Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, and Sarah Sze. Commissioned in celebration of the museum’s 150th anniversary in 2020, the portfolios are produced in an edition of sixty by the renowned artists’ workshop Gemini G.E.L in Los Angeles. The twelve signed prints are housed together in a red linen clamshell box and are accompanied by essays written by the Met director Max Hollein and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, copublisher. Proceeds from sales support the museum. To purchase a portfolio, contact the Mezzanine Gallery at the Met Store at + 1 212 650 2908.
Ed Ruscha, Boom Town, 2021 © Ed Ruscha
After “The Wild”
Contemporary Art from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection
March 24–October 1, 2023
Jewish Museum, New York
Barnett Newman (1905–1970) was a generous supporter of his colleagues, who befriended and mentored countless younger artists. After his death, Annalee Newman, his widow, created the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation to help further the spirit of great art by providing grants. Diverse in style, training, background, and age, the foundation’s grantees—whose works make up this exhibition—share Newman’s seriousness of purpose, as well as his unrelenting drive to explore the outer limits of his own ideas. Work by Michael Heizer, Nancy Rubins, Richard Serra, and Sarah Sze is included.
Nancy Rubins, Diversifolia #1, 2017 © Nancy Rubins
Escala: Escultura (1945–2000)
March 31–July 2, 2023
Fundación Juan March, Madrid
This exhibition, whose title translates to Scale: Sculpture, begins with a reflection on the effects of the Second World War on a number of artists and their conception of sculptural space as refuge. The role of scale in sculpture is examined, and in an echo of the expanded meaning of sculpture today, the exhibition extends beyond the gallery walls, into the gardens and the surrounding streets. Work by Chris Burden, Alberto Giacometti, Donald Judd, Henry Moore, and Richard Serra is included.
Chris Burden, Small Skyscraper (Quasi Legal Los Angeles County), 2002 © 2023 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Brian Guido
September 22, 2022–January 8, 2023
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
Revisiting classic modernist ideas about flatness, idealized form, and colors, this exhibition opens up the seemingly reductive format of the monochrome to reveal its global resonance and creative possibilities while working toward a more expansive narrative of twentieth and twenty-first century art. Work by Alexander Calder, Walter De Maria, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Frank Gehry, Sally Mann, and Richard Serra is included.
Sally Mann, The Bath, 1989 © Sally Mann
Animal habitats live and stuffed. . . Roma, La Salita, 1966
June 21–October 9, 2022
MACRO–Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome
This installation aims to reconstruct—through photographic and archival documents and a video drawn from a vintage newsreel—Richard Serra’s first solo exhibition, which opened on May 24, 1966, at Galleria La Salita in Rome. The year before, after attending the Yale School of Art, Serra moved to Florence. While in Italy, he embarked on a series of artistic experiments that equally questioned both an illusionistic approach to pictorial space and the use of the modernist grid. At the original exhibition Serra presented nineteen works—including cages containing live and stuffed animals—and a variety of assemblages. In the presentation at MACRO, images of and written testimonies about this legendary, yet largely unknown show are shown in parallel to conjure a pivotal moment in the history of art and of the exhibition as a medium.
Richard Serra, Zoo Cage III, 1966 (detail) © Richard Serra/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Galleria La Salita, Rome