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
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 Hong Kong 2021
May 21–23, 2021, booth 1d30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with a presentation of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by gallery artists. New paintings by Georg Baselitz, Alex Israel, Ed Ruscha, and Sarah Sze are featured alongside exceptional works in a range of mediums by Louise Bonnet, Theaster Gates, Henry Moore, Nam June Paik, and others, uncovering formal and conceptual innovations and associations that span genres and aesthetic approaches.
Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz
Artists for Biden
October 2–8, 2020
Artists for Biden is an online-only sale of works by leading contemporary artists to support the Biden Victory Fund—a joint fundraising committee authorized by Biden for President, the Democratic National Committee, and forty-seven state Democratic parties. All proceeds from the sale will provide resources needed to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and support other Democratic candidates across the country in the lead up to Election Day. Work by Cecily Brown, Michael Heizer, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Sarah Sze, Stanley Whitney, and Christopher Wool will be available. To register for early access on October 1, visit secure.joebiden.com.
Sarah Sze, Afterimage, Silver, 2018 © Sarah Sze
Triptychs and Diptychs, Forged Rounds, Reverse Curve
Richard Serra: Triptychs and Diptychs, Forged Rounds, Reverse Curve is available for online reading from June 14 through July 13 as part of the From the Library series. Housed in a slipcase, this two-volume set documents Serra’s three concurrent 2019 New York exhibitions, which presented five new sculptures and more than twenty drawings by the artist. An essay by Julian Rose provides an in-depth examination of the monolithic nature of Serra’s work, and its engagement with architecture on its own terms.
Richard Serra: Triptychs and Diptychs, Forged Rounds, Reverse Curve (New York: Gagosian, 2020)
Bilder der Ruhe
February 12–November 15, 2020
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
This exhibition, whose title translates to Silent Vision: Images of Calm and Quiet, features works of modern and contemporary art that deal with the subject of tranquility. Each room is dedicated to a specific aspect of calmness, inviting visitors to see and contemplate, as it were, stillness. Work by Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol is included.
Pablo Picasso, Buste de femme de profil (Femme écrivant), 1932, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel © Succession Picasso/2020, ProLitteris, Zurich
Around Day’s End
Downtown New York, 1970–1986
September 3–November 1, 2020
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
This exhibition pays homage to Gordon Matta-Clark’s legendary Day’s End (1975) and features works by twenty-two artists who engaged with the Meatpacking District and West Side piers, among other downtown Manhattan locations, in the 1970s and early 1980s. The show also anticipates David Hammons’s monumental public artwork Day’s End, to be completed in December 2020 and located directly across from the Whitney in Hudson River Park. Work by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Serra is included.
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Plaid), 1982, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
The Supermarket of Images
February 11–June 7, 2020
Jeu de Paume, Paris
In an age that is oversaturated with images, this exhibition asks questions about their economy—their storage, management, circulation, and fluctuating values. Work by Andreas Gursky and Richard Serra is included.
Andreas Gursky, Amazon, 2016 © Andreas Gursky/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
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