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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Richard Serra

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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Richard Serra, our greatest living sculptor. A retrospective of his drawings has just opened at its originating institution, The Menil Collection. It will be on view through June 10.  The exhibition was previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was organized by the Menil’s Michelle White and Bernice Rose, and SFMOMA’s Gary Garrels.

The Menil installation results in an exhibition that bears virtually no resemblance to the presentation at the Met. The spaces are more thoughtfully created to emphasize the physicality of the work and they’re better-lit. The show’s narrative is clearer. Just as great: Serra has created a site-specific drawing for the Menil, Two Corner Cut: High Low (2012, see below). White and Serra have installed it in the last gallery of the show — and to me it’s the best work there. It’s the rare, remarkable drawing that leaves a viewer feeling unsteady and disoriented.

On the program, Serra and I discuss:

  • How the Met’s installation of the exhibition stacks up against the Menil’s presentation;
  • The new, site-specific drawing installation he did for the Menil, Two Corner Cut: High Low;
  • The role drawing played in Serra’s acceptance into Yale’s art school;
  • The relationship between steel and Serra’s formative years in San Francisco;
  • Why Serra thinks there’s a link between his landmark Pulitzer Piece and the first anti-Vietnam War newspaper editorial;
  • The emotional responses that viewers have to his torqued ellipses and spirals, complete with special on-tape appearances by Kirk Varnedoe and Emily Rauh Pulitzer; and
  • What happened when Richard Serra cut into one of Tadao Ando’s architectural models as he suggested a modification to an Ando design.

To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To download the program directly, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can stream the program through the player below.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. This week’s program was edited by Wilson Butterworth. For images of the works discussed on this week’s show, click through to the jump.

Richard Serra in his installation of Two Corner Cut: High Low (2012) at The Menil Collection.

Richard Serra, Two Corner Cut: High Low, installation view at Menil Collection, 2012.

At the Menil Collection, Serra poses with Triangle (1974/2011) and Diamond (1974/2011).

Richard Serra, Emerson, 2010. Collection of The Menil Collection, Houston.

Auguste Rodin, The Thinker, ca. 1880, cast 1904. Collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Photo via Flickr user Stephen Rees.

Reconstruction of Atelier Brancusi at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Photos via Flickr user Daniel Ryan.

Paul Wonner, Still Life with Cup, 1959.

Crown Zellerbach Building/One Bush Plaza, San Francisco. Photos courtesy Flickr users Tom Poser, Carlo Mastrogiacomo.

Richard Serra, Twain, 1974-82. Photo via Flickr user J.G. Park.

Richard Serra, Twain, 1974-82. Installation view via Google Earth.

A YouTube-posted walking tour of Serra’s Twain.

Andrew Russeth on Serra’s To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted, which is now in the collection of the St. Louis Art Museum.

Richard Serra, Untitled, 1968. Collection of the St. Louis Art Museum.

Richard Serra, 7, 2011.

Richard Serra, Joe, 2000. Collection of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis.

Richard Serra, Joe, 2000. Collection of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis. Image via Flickr user Marjie Kennedy.

Richard Serra, Joe, 2000. Collection of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis. As seen from inside Tadao Ando’s Pulitzer building.

Richard Serra, Shift, 1970-72. Image via Flickr user Spacing Magazine.

Richard Serra, Shift, 1970-72.

Richard Serra, Pulitzer Piece, 1970-71.

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  2. Enjoyed this episode very much, Tyler. I dug the clips you included too, particularly the excerpt from Kirk Varnedoe’s NGA lectures which I’ve been been listening to over the past few weeks.

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