"The content is you! If you don't walk into the work and engage with it, there isn't any content." (Richard Serra)

The US-American artist Richard Serra died in New York on March 26, 2024 at the age of 85. His site-specific monumental sculptures made of hot-rolled Corten steel made him world-famous from the 1970s onwards. Today, examples of his international work in public and institutional spaces can be seen in Basel, Berlin, Bilbao and not least in Bochum, from where Galerie m has marketed him throughout Europe since 1975. His constantly growing radius of activity over the decades has extended from Northern America to Eastern Asia and from Iceland to Qatar.


The sheer impact of his large steel sculptures often makes us forget that the four-time documenta participant (d5, d6, d7, d8) also made art history as a graphic artist, draughtsman, video and performance artist. He was represented at documenta 6 (1977) not only with his colossal "Terminal" house of cards on Friedrichsplatz - a 12-metre-high "tower" made of four trapezoidal steel plates, which has been a permanent installation not far from Bochum's main railway station since 1979 - but also with a filmic work in the "Videothek" exhibition section. In 1982, the artistic director Rudi Fuchs decided to present a large-format, monochrome-black drawing (Untitled, 1981, paintstick on paper, 650 x 650 cm), demonstrating that the artist succeeds with ease in lending the two-dimensionality of the medium of "drawing" a physical presence that is almost on a par with the overwhelming character of his heavyweight sculptures.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Serra's sculptural works in urban spaces repeatedly generated fierce controversy: "Terminal", a 12-metre-high tower made of four upright steel plates leaning against each other, already caused discontent during its presentation in Kassel and later became a central election issue in Bochum, where the permanent installation of the work caused protests in 1979. For Serra, it was a foretaste of the debate surrounding his installation "Tilted Arc" (1981) on Federal Plaza in Manhattan: to this day, one of the best-known disputes about art in public space.


In 2001, Richard Serra was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his lifetime achievement.