March 26, 2024 – Serra’s sculptures defined a generation of art-making. Working on an unusually large scale, Serra crafted gigantic artworks that enlisted spirals, cubes, and cones of steel. These works loom over viewers, threatening to squash them. His works have not been without controversy. Tilted Arc (1981), a 120-foot-long bar of Cor-Ten steel that was once set in a plaza in New York’s Financial District, is today remembered as one of the most reviled works of public art in the city’s history. It was ultimately taken away because people hated it so much.

Yet for the most part, critics have spoken hyperbolically of Serra’s work, viewing it as a game-changing oeuvre that succeeded in pushing sculpture into new conceptual realms. He contended with the ways that an artwork not only exists in space but reorients it, shaping how viewers approach the area around them. Accordingly, his sculptures variously restrict, warp, and block the spaces viewers inhabit, forcing them to move through galleries in ways they may not normally.