Richard Serra

Richard Serra (*1939)
Richard Serra, New York, 1987 © 2011, ProLitteris, Zürich, Photo: Serra Studio, New York / Nancy Lee Katz


1939  November 2: Richard Serra is born in San Francisco.

1957 61  Attends the University of California Berkeley and Santa Barbara, graduating in 1961 with a B.A. in English literature. Works during this period in steel plants to earn a living.

1961 – 64  Studies at Yale University, New Haven, and graduates with a B.A. and M.A. in fine arts.

1964 – 65  Receives a travel grant and spends a year in Paris, where he attends the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Makes daily visits to the reconstructed Atelier Brancusi in the Palais de Tokyo, where he makes drawings that provide access to sculpture for him.

1966  First one-man show, at Galleria La Salita in Rome, comprising the Habitats with live and stuffed animals. Begins creating pieces in rubber and fluorescent tubes.

1968 – 69  Makes a series of works in molten and cast lead; the first Lead Props are exhibited. Makes his first films and begins working in Corten steel. First one-man show in the U.S., at Leo Castelli warehouse in New York.

1970  Sets to work on Pulitzer Piece: Stepped Elevations, his first site-specific landscape sculpture.

1971  First black canvases emerge.

1975  Design for a first Curved Piece, for the Centre Pompidou, Paris, which, however, is rejected.

1977  Installation of Terminal at “Documenta 6” in Kassel, which subsequently is acquired by the City of Bochum and becomes Serra’s first permanent work in an urban context.

1978  The Kunsthalle Tübingen mounts Serra’s first retrospective, which travels to the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.

1980  Participates in the Venice Biennale. Installation of Open Field Vertical / Horizontal Elevations at Wenken Park, Riehen/Basel, as part of “Skulptur im 20. Jahrhundert,” an exhibition co-organized by Ernst Beyeler.

1981  Installation of Tilted Arc on Federal Plaza, New York. Marries Clara Weyergraf, an art historian.

1986  Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Installation of Olson at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York.

1988  Mounts a major installation of drawings at Kunsthalle Basel.

1989  Tilted Arc is destroyed by the U.S. government.

1992  In addition to numerous other works in America and Europe, installs Intersection on Theaterplatz in Basel.

2004  Unveiling of the sculpture Dirk’s Pod on the Novartis Campus in Basel.

2005  The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao unveils The Matter of Time, Serra’s largest executed work to date.

2007  Second large retrospective, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

2011  Retrospective of works on paper, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Menil Collection in Houston.

Sunday matinée

The Zürich Chamber Orchestra at the Fondation Beyeler on Sunday June 5 and 25 and August 21. Playing pieces by Philip Glass, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie and others.