June 26


Band may qualify as Richard Serra’s magnum opus, representing the fullest expression of the formal vocabulary proffered by his monumental steel arcs and torqued ellipses of the 1980s and ’90s. Band is among the most formally elegant and technically complex works of Serra’s oeuvre, a sculpture that took him two-and-a-half years to develop and which he described as “a completely new form for me.” Whereas the arcs and ellipses had a stolid austerity and an uncompromising formal logic, Band introduces a new quotient of fluidity and sense of freedom, undulating with the apparent ease of a ribbon, flowing back and forth with almost balletic grace. Yet, it is plainly – obdurately – a manifestation of its own titanic size and weight, indomitable in its mass, volume, and ownership of space. Serra’s art has always forcefully asserted its materiality and evinced the process of its fabrication. Band is no exception. It is a daunting display of its own immensity, evoking the incomprehensible mechanics of handling some two-hundred tons of hot steel and the precision engineering that goes into shaping it, as well as the placing of its component parts, which requires tolerances down to a single millimeter. At twelve feet high and more than seventy feet long, the work is vast even by Serra’s monumental standard. Careening aesthetically between bravado and elegance, Band bespeaks the ambitiousness of Serra’s artistic vision and his commitment to its physical realization. Howard Fox, Curator of Contemporary Art, 2008

TEXT: Courtesy of http://www.lacma.org