Illustration by Maria Manhattan
Richard Serra was born in San Francisco on November 2, 1938. While he was in college at the University of California he supported himself by working in steel mills. In 1966 he began making sculptures out of unconventional materials such as fiberglass and rubber. From 1968 to 1970, he made artworks by splashing molten lead onto floors and walls and began making steel “prop pieces,” sculptures that are held together only by the forces of weight and gravity. In 1970 he assisted Robert Smithson in the creation of Spiral Jetty at Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Unlike Smithson, however, Serra was interested in cities rather than landscapes, and many of his artworks have been designed for outdoor urban sites.