Since the 1960s, the sculptor Richard Serra has explored the basic properties of his medium through the most straightforward yet extraordinary means. Rather than concern himself with images, Serra studies form, including its mass, weight, ability to delineate space, and the ways it behaves under the pressures of gravity. As a result, his sculptures produce in us a heightened awareness of our surroundings.
Equal consists of eight forged steel boxes stacked in pairs. Each box measures five by five and a half by six feet and weighs 40 tons in a rectangular cube. To differentiate one stack from another, Serra has rotated the position of the shorter and longer sides of the boxes. Despite the varying orientation of the individual components, each stack measures 11 feet tall. This simple construction—one block sitting atop another—yields a variety of experiences; the massive sculpture may overwhelm the viewer and, in this sublimity, invite contemplation.