On September 25, 1997, Dia Center for the Arts will open an exhibition of new sculpture by the American artist Richard Serra. Titled Torqued Ellipses this exhibition will mark the debut of Dia's second exhibition building for temporary exhibitions, at 545 West 22nd Street, located directly across the street from its current facility at 548 West 22nd Street, New York City. The exhibition will remain on view to the public until June 14, 1998. Opening hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 to 6:00 pm.
The Torqued Ellipses mark a new departure in Serra's oeuvre, one which involves bending steel in a totally unprecedented manner. Four years ago, Serra conceived this group of approximately twenty sculptures in the form of lead models. A CATIA computer program was developed from the models to enable a rolling machine to torque the steel plates. After a protracted search, Serra finally located Beth Ship, a shipyard and rolling mill at Sparrow's Point outside Baltimore, which was willing to undertake the project. To date, four sculptures from this series have been realized, three of which will be on view at Dia this fall.
As Mark Taylor writes in his essay for the catalogue that will accompany the exhibition: The effect of these works is extraordinary. Though made of heavy industrial materials and massive in size, they have the delicacy of finely folded ribbon or even paper twisted to form a Möbius strip that never quite reaches closure. As one moves from outside to inside by passing through the gap in these works, everything shifts. Lines that appear straight on the outside bend and buckle on the inside; arcs that seem to tilt away when viewed from without bend inward to enfold subject in object when experienced from within. As twisted space surrounds or even circulates through the perceptive body, the space and time of the work of art become utterly destabilizing and disorienting.
Born in San Francisco in 1939, Serra has a longstanding engagement with steel. After financing his college degree by working in steel mills, Serra adopted steel as his preferred material in the late sixties: he has continued to use it in different ways, propped, bent, forged, and rolled for over three decades.
Since his first solo show in Rome in 1966, Richard Serra has had numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including a 1986 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In addition, he has created a number of seminal site-specific sculptures in public venues in both North America and Europe. Most recently, as his contribution to the current Sculpture Projects in Münster, Germany, Serra was commissioned to make a permanent installation at one of that city's most renowned historic buildings, the Haus Rüschhaus designed by the Baroque architect J.C. Schlaun. Serra recently installed Snake, a 100-feet-long, 13-feet-high sculpture commissioned by the Guggenheim's new museum in Bilbao. In the fall of 1998, he will open an exhibition of large-scale installations at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Support for this project has been provided by individual members of the Dia Art Council, the major annual support group of Dia Center for the Arts.
Dia Center for the Arts is a tax-exempt charitable organization. Established in 1974, the organization has become one of the largest in the United States dedicated to contemporary art and contemporary culture. In fulfilling this commitment, Dia sustains diverse programming in poetry, visual arts, education, and critical discourse and debate.
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