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Richard Serra, Black Tracks, 2002, paint stick on handmade paper, 51 1/4 x 50".

Richard Serra

Richard Serra, Taraval Beach, 1977/2011, paint stick on Belgian linen. Installation view, 2011. Photo: Rob McKeever.

IT IS DIFFICULT to imagine drawing without sculpture in the work of Richard Serra. We inevitably invoke them together, even when drawing is the topic at hand. Drawing is always understood to be secondary, yet Serra himself has long said that his sculpture deploys—even that it is—drawing, by which he means that it represents the functional application of drawing as an operation. Specifically, it is his idea of drawing as “cut” that has, since the 1970s, determined two basic properties of his sculpture: the physical partition of material elements and the way the work itself is made to divide (or “cut” through) actual space. Conversely, if we name the chief concerns of Serra’s sculpture as he has identified them over time—cut and elevation, the mobile observer, the investigation of the physical and material properties of a medium, and the unmediated psychocorporeal

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