It’s Day 212 and today’s artist was mainly a sculptor I believe…but I saw that he also did paintings and I loved his paintings. I didn’t have the exact materials (oilsticks that he melted onto paper or canvas) so I improvised…since that’s what I do! 🙂 Join me in honoring Richard Serra today! I am pasting portions of his biography here from wikipedia.
Richard Serra (born November 2, 1939) is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for working with large-scale assemblies of sheet metal. Serra was involved in the Process Art Movement. He lives and works in Tribeca, New York, and onCape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
Serra was born in San Francisco as the second of three sons. His father, Tony, was a Spanish native of Mallorca. His mother, Gladys, was a Russian Jewish immigrant from Odessa (she committed suicide in 1979). He went on to study English literature at the University of California, Berkeley and later at the University of California, Santa Barbara between 1957 and 1961. While at Santa Barbara, he studied art with Howard Warshaw and Rico Lebrun.
On the West Coast, he helped support himself by working in steel mills, which was to
have a strong influence on his later work. Serra discussed his early life and influences in an interview in 1993. He described the San Francisco shipyard where his father worked as a pipe-fitter as another important influence to his work, saying of his early memory: “All the raw material that I needed is contained in the reserve of this memory which has become a reoccurring dream.”
Serra studied painting in the M.F.A. program at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture between 1961 and 1964. Fellow Yale Art and
Architecture alumni of the 1960s include the painters, photographers, and sculptors Brice Marden, Chuck Close,Nancy Graves, Gary Hudson and Robert Mangold. He claims to have taken most of his inspiration from the artists who taught there, most notably Philip Guston and the experimental composer Morton Feldman. With Albers, he worked on his book Interaction of Color (1963).
He continued his training abroad, spending a year each in Florence and Paris. In 1964,
he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for Rome, where he lived and worked with his first wife, sculptor Nancy Graves. Since then, he has lived in New York, where he first used rubber in 1966 and began applying his characteristic work material lead in 1968. In New York, his circle of friends included Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Smithson. At one point, to fund his art, Serra started a furniture-removals business, Low-Rate Movers, and employed Chuck Close, Philip Glass, Spalding Gray, and others.
In 1966, Serra made his first sculptures out of nontraditional materials such as fiberglass and rubber. Serra’s earliest work wasabstract and process-based made from molten lead hurled in large splashes against the wall of a studio or exhibition space. In 1967 and 1968 he compiled a list of infinitives that served as catalysts for subsequent work: “to hurl” suggested the hurling of molten lead into crevices between wall and floor; “to roll” led to the rolling of the material into dense, metal logs. He began in 1969 to be primarily concerned with the cutting, propping or stacking of lead sheets, rough timber, etc., to create structures, some very large, supported only by their own weight. His “Prop” pieces from the late 1960s are arranged so that weight and gravity balance lead rolls and sheets. Cutting Device: Base Plate Measure (1969) consists of an assemblage of heterogeneous materials (lead, wood, stone and steel) into which two parallel cuts have been made and the results strewn around in a chance configuration. In Malmo Role (1984), a four-foot-square steel plate, one and a half inches thick, bisects a corner of the room and is prevented from falling by a short cylindrical prop wedged into the corner of the walls.
Still, he is better known for his minimalist constructions from large rolls and sheets of metal (COR-TEN-Steel). Many of these pieces are self-supporting and emphasize the weight and nature of the materials. Rolls of lead are designed to sag over time.
Since 1971, Serra has focused not only on sculptural works, but also on large-scale drawings on handmade Hitomi paper or Belgian linen using various techniques. In the early 1970s he drew primarily with ink, charcoal, and lithographic crayon on paper. His primary drawing material has been the paintstick, a wax-like grease crayon.
Serra melts several paintsticks to form large pigment blocks. The drawings do not function as preparatory studies but typically come after a sculpture has been completed, as a form of notating its spatial relationships. Drawings After Circuit (1972), for
instance, followed an installation for documenta of four huge steel plates (8 by 24 feet each) jutting in from the corners of a room, stopping short of meeting in the center. In the mid-1970s, Serra made his first “Installation Drawings” — monumental works on canvas or linen pinned directly to the wall and thickly covered with black paintstick, such as Abstract Slavery (1974), Taraval Beach (1977), Pacific Judson Murphy (1978), and Blank (1978). The drawings Serra has executed since the 1980s continue the experiments with innovative techniques but are less monumental physically. In the late 1980s he explored how to further articulate the tension of weight and gravity by placing pairs of overlapping sheets of paper saturated with paintstick in horizontal and vertical compositions, often working on the floor and using a mesh screen as an intermediary between the gesture and the transfer of pigment to the paper.
At the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Serra showed a simple litho crayon drawing of an Abu Ghraib prisoner with the caption “STOP BUSH.” This
image was later used by the Whitney Museum to make posters for the Biennial. The posters featured an altered version of the text that read “STOP B S .” Serra also created a variation on Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son featuring George W. Bush’s head in place of Saturn’s. This was featured prominently in an ad for the website pleasevote.com (now defunct) on the back cover of the July 5, 2004 issue of The Nation.
For his 2011 exhibition of drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Serra reworked some of his earlier pieces on paper. Some of the drawings that he reworked had been damaged or destroyed, and the artist recreated them specifically for the show. The museum hinted at this by labelling the works with two dates: that of the original and that of the reworked version. According to Serra, however, it is not important whether audiences know which version they are seeing.
I hope you enjoy my tribute piece. It was nice to do another black & white piece. I always enjoy those! I’ll see you tomorrow on Day 213! Best, Linda