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Richard Serra, Prop (1968)


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
I wanted to deal with the volume, weight, mass, and directionality of the space . . . to make the volume of the space tangible, so that it is understood immediately, physically, by your body; not so that the sculpture is a body in relation to your body, but that the volume, through the placement of the sculptural elements, becomes manifest in a way that you experience it as a whole.--Richard Serra, 1992

Since the mid-1970s Richard Serra has been exploring the sculptural fundamentals of mass and gravity to create work that produces a simultaneous sense of balance and precariousness. Prop consists of a 60-inch-square sheet of lead that is held flat against the gallery wall and about three feet off the floor by a rolled lead cylinder that leans against it. The apparent instability of this arrangement leads the viewer to focus on the weight of the lead sheet and on the simultaneous assertion and defiance of the force of gravity. Serra's piece in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Five Plates, Two Poles (1971), produces a similar kind of tension with five large steel plates propped up against each other.

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Type: Commentary, object label
Source: Label text for Richard Serra, Prop (1968), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.
Rights: Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009