Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years

Richard Serra
(American, born 1939)

Richard Serra. Belts. 1966-67

(American, born 1938) Vulcanized rubber and neon tubing, 6′ × 25′ × 20″ (182.9 cm × 7.6 m × 50.8 cm), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Panza Collection Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

RICHARD SERRA: Different materials react to structure in different ways. Here you had a material, rubber, that if you hung it, it took on its own gravitational load. If you hung it in different ways, it would unfurl itself or droop or hang in different ways. Having been a painter, I thought, what if I just took one of Pollock's paintings a painting that I really liked a lot, and I said, what if I tried to draw this Pollock three-dimensionally off the wall in strips of rubber? And every time a piece of rubber crossed another piece of rubber, I would fasten it together with a bent nail.

And I drew a lot of these and hung them from the wall one after the other. And they're kind of perverse colors, off-ocher and off-pinks and off-blacks. And even though they may look lyrical now they were considered to be quite aggressive and quite abrupt, because there was nothing like that being shown at the time.

The neon light was not only to linearly describe what the piece was doing in another material, to give you a sense of, 'oh, these pieces really are drawn in that simple way. I thought that would start the progression. This is where the first one goes, and the rest of them hang to the right of it.

I consider all edges and all volumes, a kind of drawing. The proportion of the room is a kind of drawing. I see the world as a drawing.

7 / 15