Collection 1980s–Present

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Richard Serra. Equal. 2015 297

Forged weatherproof steel, 8 blocks, Each block 60 x 66 x 72" (152.4 x 167.6 x 182.9 cm). Gift of Sidney and Harriet Janis (by exchange), Enid A. Haupt Fund, and Gift of William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. J. Hall (by exchange)

Artist, Richard Serra: I’m a sculptor that’s interested in the invention of form. I’m not primarily invested in the invention of images. If you’re interested in the invention of form, you have to understand where it came from, how it developed, how people put things together.

When I first went to the forge I asked if they could hammer the edge of the cube down to less than 10 millimeters. They’d never forged anything this large before with any kind of exactitude. I wanted this tight as possible. They said “OK, you do it.”

As a kid, I'd worked in steel mills so I didn't have a lot of fear of heavy material. I'd forged a lot of blocks. But I'd never stacked blocks before. I wanted to make all the stacks the same height. The blocks are 5 feet by 5 and 1/2 feet by 6 feet. There's no square on any side. Now, if you stack the blocks and rotate them, they'll either underlap or they'll overlap.

We're so far, now in this century into virtual reality, where everybody reads images through the virtual. The virtual denies tactility. It denies your physical presence in relationship to something other than a lighted screen. We don’t receive art through our total senses in terms of walking, looking, experiencing, and touching and feeling, that's kind of been lost. That’s not to say it’s not going to come back.

This space seems to allow you to find the weight of your body against the weight of the pieces, and it grounds you in the substance of the room. Wherever you are in the room, you're in the volume of the piece.