Richard Serra, born in San Francisco, California, in 1938, is a world-renowned sculptor known for his monumental, site-specific works. Serra is considered to be a part of the Minimalist movement in art, exploring abstraction in his work and questioning the border between art and architecture. Serra cites visiting the shipyard in which his father worked as a pivotal moment in his young artistic development, inspiring his interest in engineering and industrial materials such as steel and lead. Serra himself worked in the steel mills to support himself during the early years of his artistic journey in which he was attending UC Berkeley and Santa Barbara in pursuit of a B.A. in English Literature. Serra then went on to receive a BFA and MFA at Yale University and soon after was awarded a Yale Traveling Fellowship and then a Fulbright Fellowship, taking him to Paris and Florence, respectively. Though known for his sculptures, Serra’s oeuvre also includes drawings and short films. Serra’s Verb List separates itself from the rest of his work in its written form. The Verb List has acted as a kind of prompt for many of Serra’s sculptures, many of which take their titles from verbs on the list. Serra, who is interested in process and action, has claimed that “drawing is a verb” (NYT, 1989). The Verb List has inspired myriad artworks ranging from drawings to sculptures, as well as countless activities in art educational programs around the world. The list serves as a focal point for this exhibition and its sweeping legacy can be seen through the range of artists featured in the show.
Image: Richard Serra, Siegen, 2005. Photo by Oliver Mark [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]