The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on April 30, 1986 · Page 8
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 8

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 30, 1986
Page 8
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Page 8 article text (OCR)

t-A THE BAYTOWN SUN Wednesday, April 30, 19*6 Sculptures play with perceptions NEW YORK (AP) - Richard Serra worked in steel mills during college to pay his tuition. But the job turned out to have an artistic bonus — he learned techniques that would one day help him create huge outdoor sculptures. In later years the avant-garde artist returned to mills to supervise steelworkers as they cut, rolled, formed and reamed steel into the shapes he had envisioned. "It may be sort of a romantic notion, but I've been involved with it (steelworking) all my life," Serra said. "I've really never left the mills.." Serra, 46, has built his structures in West Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Manhattan. The sculptures are marked by. massive steel plates, rust and, in at least one case, bitter controversy. "Tilted Arc," a 120-foot-long sweep of steel that bisects the plaza of a federal office building here, has been called the "Berlin Wall of Foley Square" by government workers who pass it daily. The federal government, after hearings last summer, is making plans to remove it despite Serra's objections that the move would break a contract and destroy the work. His works, which have ranged in price from $12,000 to $300,000, can touch off sparks everywhere. A four-sided column in Bochum, West Germany, became the focal point of a political battle for steelworkers' votes in 1979. But he has been praised by fellow artists and critics. In France last year, he was made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and one of his pieces was installed in a Paris square. In his sculpture, Serra has tried to explore the relationship between himself and his surroundings, which he first noted while he was growing up, walking on San Francisco's beaches. Serra was struck by something obvious — that his view of his surroundings changed depending on where he was and how he was moving. "I realized that if the beach is on the right hand side when you're walking one way, you turn around and it's on the opposite side," he said. "Even if you follow your footfalls (back) over the same place and space, it's a totally different experience." He has since planted his structures in public places in order to jolt others into noticing their surroundings too — like it or not, in the case of "Tilted Arc." A stocky man who looks like a steelworker, Serra wore a black sweatshirt and black pants during an interview in the downtown Manhattan studio loft he shares with his wife, Clara Weyergraf, an art historian. WHY PEOPLE SAVE REASON FOR SAVING MONEY % OF RESPONDENTS. 1985 Emergencies m Retirement Interest income purchases Source U.S. League o! Savings Institutions NEA/Whitney Vosburgh TO MOST people, saving means security — 85 percent save for emergencies, retirement or interest income rather than for spending. Drinking coffee at a roughhewn kitchen table, he recalled that his aptitude for art surfaced when he w as grow ing up. "If I was curious about something — some kids take things apart — I would take them apart and draw them," he said. "I used to think that I didn't really understand something unless I could draw it." He began his career as a painter, earning a Master of Fine Arts at Yale University, but gradually moved away from paint as a medium. "Once I decided I wasn't going to use it to either depict or illustrate, or construct with, then it became a material like other materials," he said. "That immediately led me to exploring other materials." One of those was steel, which he was reluctant to use early in his career because he felt it was too traditional. But it was a material he knew intimately. At 17, working in a mill in Alameda, Calif., he would stand on steel beams while they were being joined together, catching red hot rivets thrown to him from the ground. "I never got over it," said Serra, whose membership in the United Steelworkers union has since lapsed. "I still have an enormous respect for the people who make my work and the people who build my work. They're really the first audience." Serra is forced to find help to fabricate his sculpture, because he can neither build nor install the huge and heavy pieces alone. "My studios really end up being steel mills and shipyards," he said. When he began his career as a sculptor, he compiled a list of 108 words to describe the processes he thought the form should use. Among them were "to roll, to cut, to splash, of gravity, of location, of time." Some of those surfaced in a 1968 piece called "Splashing," which he made by throwing molten lead against a gallery baseboard. The piece defied the conventional idea of sculpture as an object that could be moved from place to place. Serra, who discusses his work enthusiastically, begins each piece with a site, taking into account surrounding buildings, spaces and walkways. He designs his pieces in his loft, using hundreds of small steel plates and a sandbox. The sand becomes a fulcrum that allows him to tilt and balance the metal pieces in dozens of different configurations. The design he finally chooses, which he calls "a solution" to the spatial problem he's working on, continues Serra's exploration of the interplay between perception and space. For the viewer that involves walking, looking, anticipation and memory. BAYTOWN AREA WOMEN'S CENTER Crisis: 422-2292 Office: 427-2421 HKT ROY D MEASE JUDGE COUNTY CIVIL tOUHl ATTENTION HAIR STYLISTS F The Total Concept Beauty Salon , needs enthusiastic, hard working hairdresser with following. We offer good commission end benefits. ffo«f« ciM or CMM by 427-6360 , 4130 GOT* Id. WM-fttart tt*wtet Cn.S If you automatically transfer loan payments from a credit union checking or savings account, we'll automatically reduce your interest rate. (Offer good on all new loans or re-financed loans.) ••••MM ••••••••••I Members of the... "" — , BAYTOWN BAR ASSOCIATION Endorse the following candidates Place 1 in the contested Judicial races in the May 3rd Primary SUPREME COURT Hugo Touchy Dem. Place 3 Jim Wallace Dem. 182nd 183rd 184th 185th 189th 232nd 245th 246th 248th 270th 281st 295th 01 n #4 District Judge Donald K. Shipley Dem. Steve Hebert Rep. Bob Burdette Dem. Lupe Salinas Dem. Richard W. Millard Dem. A. D. Azois Dem. Henry G. Schuble Dem. John W. Peavy Dem. Woody R. Densen Dem. Ann Cochran Dem. Louis Moore Dem. Frank O. White Dem. Houston Incumb. Incumb. Baytown Incumb. Houston Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. Incumb. 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