art: Serra “Band” broke me

I unexpectedly met Richard Serra’s Band again, at LACMA; surely one of his greatest. I was sad at the great man’s[*] death in 2024, but walking around and through its spaces one more time left me collapsed and sobbing.

Richard Serra's "Band" sculpture at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 12 feet high, over 70 feet long

Museum guard: Are you OK?

S: So much engineering and technical mastery focused on delivering such intense aesthetic senses of disequilibrium – solidity – mass – fear – intellectual puzzlement – and pure experiential wonder is bracing and makes life worth living, and for its arrogant dickhead orchestrator to be gone is heartbreaking. We need to be spiritually cared for by technology on this fragile garden planet, not exploited through its misuse by sociopathic techbros and corporations. It’s not OK! 😭

Museum guard: Uhh…

Previously on

I made the pilgrimages to DIA: Beacon which has several Serra sculptures (blog post) and to MOMA’s extraordinary Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years exhibition where I first encountered Band (blog post), then SFMOMA exhibited Sequence for years.

I could put up pictures of these but the more you see at once, the less any individual sculpture means. Yet another giant sinuous form made up of cold-rolled 12-foot Cor-ten steel plates, yadda yadda. By all means read about them, but the pictures are worth a thousandth of a single step. You have to experience these sculptures. Go!

The Great Man ??? theory

[*] It’s terrible that “man” subsumes “woman” in our language. Louise Bourgeois and Louise Nevelson are sensationally talented sculptors, and that’s just among people named “Louise.”

More pilgrimages

I’ll probably never burn the carbon to visit Bilbao and see The Matter of Time, eight sculptures (!) weighing 1034 tonnes (!!) in a 430-foot (130 m) by 80-foot (24 m) (!!!) gallery. It’s more practical to one day visit Michael Heizer’s so-beyond-monumental-there-aren’t-words City and Walter De Maria’s sublime gridscape The Lightning Field.

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