Richard Serra. Delineator. 1974-75
Director, Glenn Lowry: The artist, Richard Serra.
Artist, Richard Serra: What you’re looking at is a plate that’s 26 feet long and probably 10 wide on the floor. In a right angle to it overhead, is another steel plate. Think of it as an “X” that has been separated.
When you walk to the center of the plate on the floor, your tendency is to survey the whole room. So, the piece tends to turn you, and the piece reframes the room in a way that you would not have comprehended the piece if you had just walked into a room, say, with paintings on the wall. It’s called Delineator because it delineates the volume of that rectilinear room.
So you’re not just walking into a sculpture. You’re walking into a room, which is the space that the sculpture defines.
Glenn Lowry: Serra got the idea for Delineator in 1974 in an unusual way.
Richard Serra: At one point, I had herniated two disks and I was flat on my back on a mattress on the floor and I had to stay there six to eight weeks. And I had been looking at Malevich a lot, a Russian painter, the early part of the century, and one of his famous icons is a cross. And while I was lying there, musing about what I would do next, I thought about the cross rafter in the ceiling in relation to my prone body on the floor and it gave me the idea of laying a plate flat on the floor and putting a plate on the ceiling at a right angle to it.