The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York has acquired Richard Serra’s Equal (2015), a sculpture made of eight blocks of steel that is currently on view at David Zwirner’s West 20th Street location in Chelsea (New York). Displayed in four pairs, with one block precariously placed on top of the other, the steel cubes weigh 40 tons each. The asking price for the work was $20 million, though the gallery and museum are staying quiet on the figure that was paid.
The acquisition was announce last week by the museum’s president, Marie-Josée Kravis. The museum has had a long relationship with the Minimalist sculptor, who had a retrospective at the museum in 2007 and holds a number of major works by the artist.
Richard Serra is perhaps one of the most significant artists of his generation. His ground-breaking sculpture explores the exchange between artwork, site, and viewer. He has produced large-scale, site-specific sculptures for architectural, urban, and landscape settings spanning the globe, from Iceland to New Zealand.
Richard Serra’s (b. 1938) first solo exhibitions were held at the Galleria La Salita, Rome, 1966, and, in the United States, at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, in 1969. His first solo museum exhibition was held at The Pasadena Art Museum in 1970. Serra has since participated in Documenta 5 (1972), 6 (1977), 7 (1982), and 8 (1987), in Kassel; the Venice Biennales of 1980, 1984, 2001, and 2013; and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual and Biennial exhibitions of 1968, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1995, and 2006.
Serra has had solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1977; the Kunsthalle Tübingen, 1978; the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 1978; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1980; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1984; the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, 1985; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1986; the Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, 1986; the Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, 1987; the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, 1987; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1988; the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, 1990; the Kunsthaus Zürich, 1990; CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, 1990; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1992; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1992; Dia Center for the Arts, New York, 1997; Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, 1997-98; Trajan’s Market, Rome, 2000; The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, 2003; and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, 2004.
More recently, in 2005 eight large-scale works by Serra were installed permanently at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and in 2007 The Museum of Modern Art, New York presented a retrospective of the artist’s work. His work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris in 2008 (MONUMENTA 2008: Richard Serra: Promenade); in 2011-12 the exhibition Brancusi-Serra travelled from the Beyeler Foundation, Riehen to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and a traveling survey of Serra’s drawings was on view in 2011-12 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Menil Collection, Houston (the exhibition was organized by the Menil Collection).
In 2014, the Qatar Museum Authority presented a two-venue retrospective survey of his work at the QMA Gallery and the Al Riwaq exhibition space, Doha; also in Qatar, a new permanent, site-specific work, East-West/West-East was installed in the Brouq Nature Reserve in the Zekreet Desert. An exhibition of recent works on paper by the artist was presented at the Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro.
Equal continues until July 24, 2015 @ David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, New York.