The Economist likes Richard Serra’s work, singling out his two lots from a Contemporary art sale that they expect to feel real repercussions from the credit crunch. Ignore the first half of the story that seeks to wind up fears and jump right in here:
“Richard Serra is one artist whose prices never reached the stratosphere, despite a 40-year retrospective last year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) and a highly acclaimed installation at the Grand Palais in Paris earlier this summer (visited, to Mr Serra’s amazement, by the president, Nicolas Sarkozy). [ . . . ] Yet the sculptor’s fascination with the possibilities inherent in curves, his almost inhuman (or superhuman) mathematical imagination, dedicated vision and uncompromising commitment mean that the slow-burning Mr Serra will be one of the artists whose work will continue to shine long after he is gone. [ . . . ] Two works by Mr Serra in Sotheby’s forthcoming sale of contemporary art offer different opportunities for an interested buyer. The bigger piece, “12-4-8”, an exterior sculpture comprising three steel plates in a square structure which was executed in 1983, demonstrates the importance Mr Serra gives to space. “I consider space to be a material,” he said in a 2006 interview with Kynaston McShine, MoMA’s chief curator-at-large. “The articulation of space has come to take precedence over other concerns. I attempt to use sculptural form to make space distinct.
(More after the jump.)
The second piece is much older. One of the first things Mr Serra did when he moved east to New York in the mid-1960s was write down a list of verbs—to splash, to tear, to roll, to cut and so forth. He then literally “made” these verbs out of rubber and lead. Mr Serra’s famous “Verb List” has come to be seen as transitory action in the infinitive case, and the pieces it inspired are among his most original. “Folded/Unfolded” (1969, pictured above) is one of the “Verb List” sculptures. A large sheet of soft lead was literally folded and then opened out again, leaving traces of the process in its crimped folds that are a clear demonstration of Mr Serra’s conceptual dreams.”
Plates of Steel (The Economist)