The Nasher Sculpture Center announces Richard Serra: Prints, an exhibition of the renowned sculptor’s two-dimensional explorations of form and mass, on view from January 28 to April 23, 2017. The exhibition will feature the artist’s earliest graphic attempts in lithography through more recent works created in 2015. All works in the exhibition are drawn from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.
Unquestionably one of the most celebrated and influential artists of our time, and best known for his groundbreaking, large-scale Cor-Ten steel sculptures, Richard Serra has been making prints since 1972, in his first collaboration with Gemini G.E.L., the renowned artists’ workshop and publisher of fine-art limited edition prints and sculptures. In his years of involvement with the workshop, Serra has used experimental printing techniques and such unorthodox materials as oil stick and silica, continually pushing the boundaries of traditional printmaking.
All of Serra’s prints employ only one color, or ‘property,’ as he calls it—black—because of its ability to absorb light and create weight, qualities which dominate his sculptural work as well. The large format and rich textural surfaces of the prints also evoke the complex tectonic attributes of his steel sculptures, such as compression, stasis, mass, and tension.
“Just as Richard Serra has fundamentally altered our understanding of sculpture and our appreciation for its essential properties and possibilities, so, too, his graphic work has expanded our sense of the possibilities of printmaking,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “It is so important for us to be able to present these remarkable prints by Richard Serra that carry so many of the powerful elements found within his sculptures. The works generate a compelling relationship between the solid black forms within the prints and the viewer’s bodily experience of them, and open up a dialogue with the dense, metal surfaces of the artist’s sculptures within the Nasher Collection and beyond.”
“Richard Serra, the most important sculptor of our time, is also an exquisite printmaker,” says Jordan D. Schnitzer. “Working with Gemini G.E.L. master printers, he transforms paper and ink into a multidimensional experience, and I am excited to see these prints in the Nasher Sculpture Center. Thanks to Director Jeremy Strick and all of the Nasher staff for making this exhibition possible.”
Many of Serra's prints directly relate to specific sculptures and are the artist’s attempts at resolving the multiplicity of viewpoints experienced when walking in/around, or through his sculpture. Viewers may recognize certain of these sculptural forms in the prints: the titular elements of his Torqued Ellipses, the arcing forms of My Curves Are Not Mad, or the planar regularity of Inverted House of Cards, the last two works in the Nasher Collection which will be on view during the show. Those familiar with Serra’s entire oeuvre will also make connections between prints with a splattered affect and his early installations in which he hurled molten lead at the wall, creating sculptures from the accumulation of the substance. Unlike preparatory drawings made for these sculptural works, however, Serra considers the prints to have their own classification, existing not as studies but as resolved formal and material inquiries.
Support for the exhibition and related educational and outreach programs has been made possible by a grant the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
Richard Serra was born in 1938 in San Francisco, California. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Santa Barbara; and Yale University, Connecticut. Serra’s bodies of work in sculpture and drawing have been celebrated with retrospectives at The Museum of Modern Art twenty years apart: “Richard Serra/Sculpture,” (1986) and “Richard Serra Sculpture Forty Years,” (2007). Other major recent exhibitions include The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (1999); American Academy in Rome, Italy (2000); The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2003); Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2003, 2014); Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Italy (2004); Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2005); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Germany (2008); Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Germany (2011, traveled to Kunsthalle Rostock, Germany); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2011, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; and The Menil Collection, Houston, through 2012); Qatar Museum Authority, Qatar (2014); and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, The Netherlands (2014).