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Tools & StrategiesRichard Serra
Filmed in 2000 at Richard Serra’s Manhattan studio, the artist describes the various tools and conceptual strategies he has used throughout his career when working with lead and steel. Serra discusses his early focus on the nature of the art production process itself which resulted in his writing a Verb List (1967-68).
Multiple lead works that resulted from Serra acting out the Verb List are shown through archival images. Serra’s invention of a tool that twisted sheet metal around a wheel enabled him to shape steel in a new way—from the inside out. Torqued Ellipses (1996-97), which resulted from this process, are shown at Dia:Beacon in 2004.More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins & Catherine Tatge. Camera: Ken Kobland & Pete Shanel. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Richard Serra / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York & Dia Art Foundation. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
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Richard Serra’s early work in the 1960s focused on the industrial materials that he had worked with as a youth in West Coast steel mills and shipyards: steel and lead. Since those Minimalist beginnings, Serra’s work has become famous for that same physicality—but one that is now compounded by the breathtaking size and weight that the pieces have acquired. His series of Torqued Ellipses (1996–99)—which comprise gigantic plates of towering steel, bent and curved, leaning in and out—carve very private spaces from the necessarily large public sites in which they have been erected.