Richard Serra - Contemporary Art Part II New York Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Maeght Lelong Gallery, New York; Jean Bernier Gallery, Athens; R. Louis Bofferding Fine Arts, New York; PaceWildenstein, New York

  • Literature

    H. Janssen, Richard Serra: Drawings 1969-1990, Bern, 1991, p. 251, no. 330 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot exists in direct correlation to the controversy surrounding the artist’s sculpture Tilted Arc. As with many of the artist’s drawings the line between drawing and sculpture is blurred—Richard Serra utilizes the power of pure form to define space and the relationship of the work, its viewer, and their shared environment.
    Commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration’s “Artsin- Architectures” program for the Federal Plaza in New York City and constructed in 1981, Tilted Arc was dismantled against the will of Richard Serra in 1989. The sculpture, measuring one hundred and twenty feet long by twelve feet high, was protested - hailed a nuisance and aid to potential terrorists. As stressed by Serra, the sculpture was only relevant in its intended setting, it could not be moved. The viewer should interact with the sculpture in terms of its environment, the piece constantly changing as one moved around it. A March 1985 public hearing settled the conflict in that Tilted Arc would be taken down. The sculpture would, however, continue to elicit dialogue long after its removal.
    Ishmael holds a relationship to the viewer and environment similar to that of Tilted Arc. The visual weight of the drawing anchors the space in which it is displayed. Although realized in oil stick on paper as a two-dimensional drawing, the lot at hand confronts the viewer in the same manner as a three-dimensional sculpture. The slightly angled, geometric composition of Ishmael also references Serra’s gravity-dependent work of the 1970’s.

  • Artist Biography

    Richard Serra

    American • 1938

    Richard Serra is an American artist commonly associated with Minimalism and the Process Art movement. Though perhaps best known for his monumental works made from industrial steel, Serra has also worked extensively in painting and printmaking. After attending the University of California, Berkeley, he earned his MFA from Yale, where he became friends and collaborators with classmates such as Frank Stella, Chuck Close and Nancy Graves, to whom Serra was married for five years. Later working in New York, Serra was inspired by Minimalist contemporaries such as Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt, who valued the work of creation more than the finished artwork itself.

    Serra’s work is installed permanently at the Guggenheim Bilbao, and can also be found in the collections of Dia:Beacon, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate, London.

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Oilstick on paper.

71 3/8 x 37 in. (181.3 x 94 cm).

Signed and dated “R Serra 87” on the reverse.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

14 May 2010
New York