This installation, curated by the artist, was the first exhibition of Serra’s sculpture in St. Louis in more than thirty years. From sculpture in a variety of media to paintstick and charcoal drawings, Sculpture and Drawings by Richard Serra acknowledged the full breadth of the artist’s production and presented the rare opportunity for visitors to see his sculpture and drawings in the same space. These works complemented Serra’s Joe, the torqued spiral sculpture that was commissioned for Pulitzer Arts Foundation and is permanently installed in the courtyard. A curving, monumental sculpture made from five plates of weathering steel, Joe is an integral aspect of the Pulitzer and served as the inspiration for this exhibition.
Sculpture and Drawings by Richard Serra drew upon a strong history of Serra’s work in St. Louis. In 1969, even before the artist had been given a solo exhibition in New York, several of Serra’s sculptures were included in Washington University’s exhibition Here and Now. One year later, the Joseph Helman Gallery presented an exhibition of Serra’s sculpture. In 1982, Serra’s sculpture Twain—an eight-panel steel triangular work whose openings present changing views of St. Louis’ cityscape—became the artist’s first permanent, public, site-specific work in this country. To celebrate the installation of Twain, the Saint Louis Art Museum showed related work; over a decade later, in 1994, they also presented an exhibition of his Weight and Measure Drawings. Serra’s circular steel sculpture To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted (1970) has previously been installed at Laumeier Sculpture Park and the Saint Louis Art Museum, and was the impetus for a series of charcoal drawings on view at the Pulitzer.
In addition, two concurrent exhibitions contributed to the enduring legacy of Serra’s work in St. Louis and beyond. Sculpture and Drawings by Richard Serra at the Pulitzer motivated the temporary installation of Untitled (1968)—an important, early cast rubber floor sculpture—at the Saint Louis Art Museum. Nearby in Grand Center, the Sheldon Art Galleries also presented Richard Serra: Rounds, a selection of six etchings dedicated to jazz musicians.