Richard Serra. Surprise Attack. 1973

Richard Serra Surprise Attack 1973

  • Not on view

Primarily known for his large-scale lead and steel sculptures that physically carve out space, Serra also created films and videos in the late 1960s and early 1970s that explore the parameters of bodily motion and interpersonal relationships. Surprise Attack features one stationary shot showing the artist's hands throwing a piece of lead back and forth. Expanding the premise of his earlier film Hand Catching Lead (1968), here Serra includes two hands and a soundtrack consisting of readings from Thomas C. Schelling's book The Strategy of Conflict (1960), which focuses on the most difficult situations in which game theory can be applied, including hostage crises, terrorism, and warfare. "Self-defense is ambiguous," Serra reads from Schelling's book. As the tension of Serra's constant lead-throwing increases, the narration describes the amplified threat of violence that comes from an inability to communicate with others and understand their intentions.

Gallery label from Second Floor Public Space Video Installation, November 16, 2015.
Medium
Video (black and white, sound)
Duration
2 min.
Credit
Purchase
Object number
1343.1999
Copyright
© 2019 Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Video Data Bank, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Department
Media and Performance

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at firenze@scalarchives.com. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.