Richard Serra

Richard Serra – RIP

Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle

I was fortunate to have met Richard Serra on several occasions. The first time, Judy Chicago called Sidney Felsen and arranged for me and Suzanne Lacy to visit Gemini Studio late one night. Mark Stock was assisting Richard at the press. Suzanne and I honored the creative process, knowing well not to interrupt; but observing the artist at work was a singular and rewarding experience. Decades later I viewed the work from the night at his retrospective at SFMOMA with my son and grandson. The next time we met he was in Bellingham considering the site for his piece on the campus of Western Washington University. It was an honor to sit next to him at the dinner the university hosted celebrating him. And it was exhilarating to hear him talk about art history, the importance of artists like Picasso and Pollock. When he returned for the installation of Wright’s Triangle he allowed me to shadow him for several days while he worked with the installation crew. He took an interest in my old German camera, a Leica IIf which was unobtrusive, except for an accessory viewfinder (Vidom) which piqued his curiosity. The morning following the installation and site clean-up I found Richard in deep concentration, observing his newly completed work, looking at the site with pathways to be redesigned. As with any change, and especially something new and bold, it took a while before people learned to love it.

The last time I saw him was in Seattle in Belltown, near what would eventually become the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. We spoke that day about an exhibition curated by the late Gene Baro, of Black and White Drawings which included works by both of us. A few years later our works hung side by side at an exhibition at the former Seattle Art Museum Pavilion in a selection of art from Seattle’s Portable Art Collection.
As of this writing, I am preparing to move to a live workspace very close to where we last spoke, and like Wright’s Triangle that I experienced daily over many years, I look forward to many visits to Wake. edit: we have returned to Seattle and are within walking distance to the sculpture park. I’ve included recent photographs of Richard Serra’s beautiful sculpture; it gets better with each viewing.


Fred A. Bernstein writing in the Washington Post offers a moving obituary

Richard Serra – Reverse Curve

Seattle Art Museum – Olympic Sculpture Park

Posted by Thomas Alix Johnston in Blog, 1 comment

Seattle Art Museum – Olympic Sculpture Park

I’d been wanting to visit the sculpture park again for some time, to see new additions to the collection and to revisit works by three of my favorite artists, Serra, Calder, and DiSuvero. I went on a brisk, overcast day just before the new year.

I was reflecting on the first time I saw Richard Serra’s Wake, 2004, just after it was installed. It is first seen from a long distance, from above, and as you approach the work it grows and grows; by the time you reach it, you are immersed within it.

Seattle is fortunate to have a classic Alexander Calder, from 1971, Eagle. It is a sculpture worthy of repeated visits, to see how it captures northwest light in the different seasons and times of day.

It was exciting to see Mark di Suvero’s, Schubert Sonata, 1992, with Eliot Bay as a backdrop. As with all of DiSuvero’s signature work, it is like a drawing in steel, and I look forward to spending more time with it during upcoming visits.

Posted by Thomas Alix Johnston in Blog, Words, 3 comments
Richard Serra – Reverse Curve

Richard Serra – Reverse Curve

Reverse Curve, 2005/19 is on view at Gagosian – 522 West 21st Street, NYC through February 1, 2020. It is a unique  opportunity to see this magnificient work in an interior space. Reverse Curve is comprised of two 2″ thick steel plates, measuring approximately 13 feet high by 99 feet in length.

Forged Rounds, is a grouping of forged steel cylindrical forms of varied height and diameter, each weighing 50 tons. They are on view at the 555 West 24th Street gallery, through January 11, 2020. This link will take you to the Gagosian website which features Forged Rounds.


Posted by Thomas Alix Johnston in Blog, Words, 4 comments