Monday, February 17, 2014

Expedition Richard Serra

Inside Out :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra, #NYC 2013
Inside Out :: Richard Serra
I went down to see the Richard Serra exhibit at the Gargosian Galleries three times.  No, really, I did.  It's not like I'm a big aficionado of Serra's work. Specifically, he is not an artist that I would typically stalk but, here I was, a few weekends over the past month or so doing just that.  Stalking him that is.  This stalking was a bit different from my past efforts because it did not involve any efforts to "find" the art (Expedition Keith Haring, Expedition #Bansky, or Expedition Real World).  No, this art was in a gallery in Chelsea, well advertised, and easily found.  

Endings - A Detail from  Intervals :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Endings - A Detail from
Intervals :: Richard Serra
To be clear, I am not sure that the first expedition to the Gargosian counts (the gallery was closed) nor is it certain that the third should count (we saw oh so much more art than just the Serra's) so this report is mainly about the second expedition which was a completely focused effort to get to both of the Gargosian Galleries in Chelsea and take in his massive sculptures.

Intervals :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Intervals :: Richard Serra
A small confession -- I am not an art critic.  So, if it's a really good (and much more comprehensive) review of the Serra exhibit at the Gargosian that you are after, check out this review by the New York Times -- Shifting his Tectonic Plates.  

As for me, I'm probably one of those people who could be seen scratching her head at times and I am definitely in the Charlie Rose camp when it comes to one of the pieces which really does give you the sensation of walking in a cemetery  (see the full interview here and a transcript of the conversation about the cemetery here).  to my mind, I don't think Charlie Rose was referring to just any cemetery mind you but rather one on the scale of Recoleta in Buenos Aires.  Perhaps if he had established that framing, the conversation would have gone a bit better?

Seven Plates, Six Angles:  Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Seven Plates, Six Angles :: Richard Serra
Of course, I liked the bigger pieces the best (bigger is better after all) and am a particular fan of Intervals (the aforementioned cemetery) because of the way one could meander amongst the slabs -- choosing to exit at any moment patina on the ends of the slabs was just my cup of tea (rusty).    With Seven Plates, Six Angles -- on the other hand -- one feels more apt to circle the piece once before diving into one of those angles.  And, if you are brave and venture down a second angle, you'll find it's much the same experience as the first -- at some point you are going to run into a sharp corner.  That is unless you disappear from the sight of the security guards because they'll come running over to make sure you aren't touching anything which adds a certain element of unpredictability to the art.  This piece is pretty colossal and I for one felt pretty small when wandering around it.

Seven Plates, Six Angles :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Seven Plates, Six Angles :: Richard Serra
As for Inside Out, I wasn't expecting all that much from this piece having wandered Band at the LA Museum of Art (LACMA) a couple of years back.  It surprised me though.  It was the right scale for the room and the luscious rust color against the cement of the floor was a perfect pairing.  I also think I was a bit lucky in that the gallery was not particularly busy and so I could get lost in the cul de sacs and have that feeling of being alone with the art.   

Inside Out :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Inside Out :: Richard Serra
I would like to see Serra's work outdoors at some point.  I wonder if it would feel so monumental if dwarfed by trees or buildings.  I think the play of light and shadow throughout the day would make the whole experience sublime.  

Seven Plates, Six Angles :: Richard Serra, Expedition #RichardSerra #NYC 2013
Seven Plates, Six Angles :: Richard Serra

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