Known for his large-scale, site-specific sculptures, Richard Serra has often stressed the importance of drawing as a foundation of his work; they are not meant to be preliminary research for his sculptures but present a more immediate and personal exploration of form for the artist. Since 1971, Serra has employed black paint stick and ink to produce drawings that defy any metaphorical or emotive associations, yet manifest the notions of time, materiality and process that characterize his decades long career.
Serra’s relationship to drawing is rooted in his early childhood experiences when he sketched the dismantled car parts that his father and older brother worked on. Later, while a student at Yale, his teacher Josef Albers directed him to go out into the world and look for specifics – red things, for example, and only red things – and then asked him to repeat the exercise the next day. Serra credits this discipline of concentrated observation with sharpening his focus, instilling a profound concern for looking, and teaching him to see the world deeply through the immediate act of drawing.
Born on November 2, 1938 in San Francisco, CA, the artist attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1961 with a BA in English literature. Serra went on to pursue his MFA at Yale School of Art where his fellow classmates included Chuck Close, Brice Marden, and Nancy Graves. Serra currently lives and works between New York, NY and Nova Scotia, Canada. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Dia: Beacon in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.