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Measuring the Weight with Richard Serra | The Brooklyn Rail



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Measuring the Weight with Richard Serra

DAVID ZWIRNER | November 4 – December 16, 2017

The thing is not to feel oppressed by the extraordinary mass and heaviness and gleam of it all. Unforgettable is the kerfuffel a while back over the site-specific curve which could neither stay in front of the Federal bulidings (although I loved attempting to have a sandwich atop it) or be moved, given its placement. Interesting that this issue should arise when the movement to take down various statues in New York and elsewhere is heavy in our minds. The Serra is not there any longer, of course, but the flavor hangs around wherever you see Serra pieces: at the Gehry museum in Bilbao, and so on, and now here. Impressive is the flavor of it all, inescapable is the presence of the thing(s).

You walk around, you compare the weight of the sculptures with the density of the black in his drawings, the way the curves fit into one another, the way it has an impact on your mind, and physical state. How different is this black (how does it not feel tragic?) from the small black stroke of a Matisse sketch, from the ponderous thereness of a Motherwell Elegy. Something about depth more than about sinking in. But a Serra piece, drawn or sculpted, staging itself, takes over whatever place you put it in. This gallery, any museum, any street or road or crossroads of traffic.

-Mary Ann Caws        
Dec. 7, 2017        

Richard Serra, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure, 2017. Installation view, Richard Serra: Sculpture and Drawings, David Zwirner, New York, 2017. Photo by Cristiano Mascaro. © 2017 Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Contributor

Mary Ann Caws

MARY ANN CAWS is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. Her many areas of interest in twentieth-century avant-garde literature and art include Surrealism, poets René Char and André Breton, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group, and artists Robert Motherwell, Joseph Cornell, and Pablo Picasso. Conceptually, one of her primary themes has been the relationship between image and text.

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