PRINT May 2018


Kynaston McShine

I DID NOT SEE the “Primary Structures” exhibition in 1966. I was living in Florence. Shortly after I moved to New York in 1967, a curator from MoMA, Kynaston McShine, made an appointment to visit. When he came to see me, I was somewhat astonished: white pants and shirt, red scarf, loafers, no socks, an irresistible smile, elegant, charming. I forgot to mention that he was black. Kynaston wanted to know everything about me and my work; we talked, a rapid exchange, back and forth. We hit it off immediately. Kynaston had a lightning-quick wit and sarcasm that would reduce you to silence. He was back in touch to ask if I would contribute a film to his “Information” exhibition, another show that ended up being groundbreaking: It put mixed media and Conceptual art on the map.

The next time Kynaston came to see me was in 1984, to let me know that MoMA wanted to organize a retrospective of my sculpture. He did not curate my first retrospective, but together with Lynne Cooke he curated my second retrospective there, in 2007.

Kynaston was part of my life for decades. He followed my work. He flew to Europe when traveling had become hard for him. He came to my opening of “Matter of Time” in Bilbao and insisted on watching the fabrication of my pieces for the second retrospective at MoMA when he was in a wheelchair.

Kynaston was a friend, a beautiful man. I miss him.

Richard Serra is an artist based in New York.