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Richard Serra: Thinking on Your Feet

A smart, attentive documentary
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  November 4, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

From above, the colossal coils of steel that make up The Matter of Time, Richard Serra’s installation at the Guggenheim Bilbao, look like ribbons of paper. Given that the work is welded together from several panels of steel at 40 tons apiece, this delicacy is quite an achievement — one of the many that Serra has pulled off over the years. In Maria Anna Tappeiner’s attentive documentary on the construction of this project, little gets in the way of Serra and his process — after all, his works are about process. As we trail him through the skewed corridor of one of the coils, we learn that his creations are “generated by the void.” As a crew of workers use howling machines to impart barely perceptible curvatures to white-hot steel plates, we hear that his concerns are primarily “tectonic.” And as Tappeiner allows him to lead the way through his singular sculptures, it becomes easy to see why his work has withstood storms of controversy. Tappeiner smartly demonstrates how Serra turns the experience of the viewers into his subject matter. For all his works’ silence and difficulty, they’re not so challenging — unless you’re the one who has to install them. English + German | 93 minutes | MFA: November 6, 7, 8, 20, 22 
  • Afterglow
    Rachel Whiteread’s dollhouse village at the MFA, Erwin Redl’s red-light district at Emerson
  • Exposures
    Photos from Yousuf Karsh, William Christenberry, and the PRC
  • Sticking it to the man
    Five centuries of protest art at Harvard
  • More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Richard Serra , Richard Serra , Richard Serra ,  More more >
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