Richard Serra was born in San Francisco November 2, 1939.
From 1957-1961, while working in steel mills to support
himself, he studied at UC Berkeley, and UC Santa
Barbara...where he received a BA in English literature. From
1961-1964, he attended Yale University where he earned his
MFA. While he was studying at Yale, he was trained as a
painter, and worked with Josef Albers on his book, "The
Interaction of Color" (1963). He would also come in contact
throughout the early '60's with such artists as: Philip
Guston, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella.
In 1964, Serra went to Paris on a Yale Traveling Fellowship.
Many times during that year, he would frequent the
reconstruction of Constance Brancusi's studio at the
Musee National d'Art Moderne. After receiving a Fulbright
grant, he was able to spend most of the next year in
Florence, Italy as well as traveling through Southern Europe
and parts of Northern Africa.
It was in Rome, where he was given his first solo exhibition
at Galleria La Salita.
Eventually, that same year, Serra moved to New York, where
he acquired an eminent
circle of friends that included: Walter De Maria, Eva Hesse,
Carl Andre and Robert
He is known as a minimalist sculptor. Many of his creations
are large-scale structures
of geometric design, often meant for outdoor sites. In the
early '60's, he tended to work with the industrial materials
of steel and lead. However, later in the decade, he made the
addition of more nontraditional materials such as fiberglass
and rubber. In 1968-70, he introduced a series of Splash
pieces, that consisted of splashing or casting molten lead
into the junctures between the floor and the wall. Serra was
committed to the idea of using quality materials, and
committed to the concept that the process is just as
important as the final result.
He had his first solo exhibition in the United States at the
Leo Castelli Warehouse in
New York. In 1970, he had another solo exhibition that was
organized by the Pasadena Art Museum. Then, that same year
he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
fellowship. Serra had much more intrigue for the urban sites
of America, than the vast landscapes. In 1970, he installed
one of his pieces on a dead-end street in the Bronx. In
1975, he received the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture and in
1985, he traveled to Spain so he could study Mozarabic
Serra's works are found in private collections throughout
the world, as well as in museum collections. He has been
honored with solo exhibitions and retrospectives in museums
all through the 80's...the Musee National d'Art Moderne of
Paris, in 1984; the Museum Haus Lange in Germany, 1985; the
Museum of Modern Art, NY, in 1986.
The honors kept coming throughout the 90's...the
Bonnefantennmuseum hosted a retrospective of his drawings;
in 1991, he won the Wilhem Lehmbruck prize for sculpture in
Duisberg; then the following year, another retrospective at
the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
In 1993, Serra was elected a fellow of the American Arts and
Sciences.1994 bestowed him with two honors. He was awarded
the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association, and an
Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the California
College of Arts and crafts in Oakland.
Today, Serra continues to produce large-scale steel
structures for sites in both the United States and Europe.
He and his wife, Clara Weyergraf-Serra, live just outside of
New York, and in Nova Scotia.