Upstairs, selections from several recent series of drawings, Rotterdam Horizontals (2016-2017), Rotterdam Verticals (2016-2017), AR Horizontals (2017), AR Verticals (2017), and a suite from Right Angle (2017), hover somewhere between monoprint and drawing. Made with etching ink, silica, and paintstick on handmade paper, they are black the way asphalt is black. Intensely graphic in material and form, they are a series of controlled experiments in what the weight and volume of the line can do. As drawings they resist every planar expectation. Instead, they have tangible volume. To more or lesser of a degree, the mark-making breaks the plane of the paper they are made on, drawing attention to the support as discrete from the elemental mark of a line.
Richard Serra: Sculpture and Drawings
David Zwirner New York
537 West 20th Street
Through December 16, 2017
This small, spare show of forged-steel sculptures and recent drawings is a concentrated lesson in Serra’s two main bodies of work. The first-floor installation of sculptures is a tutorial in what sculptures can teach us about the space they—and we—occupy. In one room, Four Rounds: Equal Weight, Unequal Measure (2017) which is comprised of two tall forged cylinders and two squat rounds, are each astonishing beautiful objects in themselves, particularly the contrast between their palpable weight and volume and the small-scale richness of their hammered, pocked and pitted surfaces, inky black to oxidized umbers. Linger and the sculptures seem to reshape the space around them, heightening awareness of the room’s necessary ninety-degree angles. This is even more apparent in a narrow little side room, where the two forged blocks that make up Into and Across (2017) are set into corners, seeming to compress and narrow the space they are placed in.
In “Notes on Drawing,” Serra’s primer on his own process, Serra explained his choice of working entirely with black: it resists “metaphorical and other mis-readings," it “creates larger volume, holds itself in a more compressed field," and “it is comparable to forging.” Like sculpture, Serra sees his drawings as intervening in the space in which they are displayed, but “drawings,” he wrote, “are another kind of language.”