In response to my last post, Renu asked about the Richard Serra show in New York. I’ll get to that, but first I thought I’d mention another show that you probably haven’t heard about. Timothy Hutchings, better known for his film work, has an installation up at i-20 on West 23rd St. that fills the entire gallery.
Taking the idea of a wargame- a table game with clear rules played with miniature soldiers- to a ridiculous extreme (400 square feet) arranged as a seemingly never-ending playing surface, Hutchings’ installation creates a bizarre alternate universe where war has a clear trajectory and defined rules. The installation is installed so the the viewer is literally marginalized and at times has to walk in very narrow spaces created next to the walls.
Richard Serra installation photo from www.moma.org
As for the Richard Serra show, the most accurate word to describe it is “BIG.” When I first saw the Torqued Ellipses in New York in the late 90s I was amazed at the size, and there were only a few pieces on display at the Gagosian Gallery.
While it was nice to see the variety in Serra’s http://onhealthy.net/product-category/adhd/ output over the years (many older works were on the top floor), it was almost gratuitous to have all the new large-scale pieces on display together. Sequence, the one piece you literally could lost in, was great but the other ones (the toruses in particular) almost seemed boring in comparison. To see images of these works, there is a great online exhibit at MoMA’s site.
Natasha and I did not make it to the roof, as it started raining while we were there and the security guards all started freaking out and made everyone go inside. They also made everyone throw out their snacks that many people had just purchased minutes earlier (luckily we were almost done with our gelato). There was a Serra piece in the sculpture garden that we saw very briefly as we were being ushered back inside the building.
If you start at the bottom of the museum and work your way up, you end up seeing Serra’s oldest work last. It looked more fresh than much of the newer stuff- it is conceptually richer and less dependent on scale to make an impression. You can’t walk through it, but it definitely has the same weight.