Unreal Nature

May 9, 2016

Public Space

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

… “Once the works are erected in a public space, they become other people’s concerns.”

This is from the essay ‘Thinking on Your Feet: Richard Serra’s Sculptures in Landscape’ by Lynne Cooke found in Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years (2007):

I consider space to be a material. The articulation of space has come to take precedence over other concerns. I attempt to use sculptural form to make space distinct. — Richard Serra, 1998

… “I was more interested in a penetration into the land that would open the field and bring you into it bodily, not just draw you into it visually.”

[ … ]

Spin Out signals Serra’s rejection of the conventions and ideologies that subtend the sculpture park in favor of what he would come to call an “anti-environment,” and in doing so marks the beginning of a relationship that would define itself in terms of contesting rather than accommodating the norms and protocols of such venues.

[line break added] “I think the sculpture, if it has any potential at all, has the potential to create its own place and space, and to work in contradiction to the places and spaces where it is created,” he stated in 1984. “I am interested in work where the artist is a maker of ‘anti-environment’ which takes its own place or makes its own situation, or divides or declares its own area.”

[ … ]

… By his own account, Serra’s preference for sites not merely outdoors but outside the confines of the institution has been partly determined by a desire to play down the question of authorship, so that his audience might engage more fully with issues generated by the work’s intervention in that site: “As soon as you put a work into a museum, its label points first to the author. The visitor is asked to recognize ‘the hand.’ Whose work is it?”

[line break added] By contrast, “The problem of self-referentiality does not exist once the work enters the public domain. How the work alters a given site is the issue, not the persona of the author. Once the works are erected in a public space, they become other people’s concerns.” Such a model of place-making assumes a generalized notion of community, an audience of whoever happens upon the work. Hoping to render the question of authorship, if not ownership, moot, Serra wants the sculpture to solicit a response, from anyone who comes across it, that is grounded in its particular context.

My previous post (from a different essay) from this book is here.




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