Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Another Serra Sculpture May Go on Top of Art Hill

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Another Serra Sculpture May Go on Top of Art Hill

Article excerpt

Richard Serra, whose downtown sculpture "Twain" has evoked strong opinions from St. Louis area residents for 35 years, may soon have a major piece at another prominent location here.

The St. Louis Art Museum is seeking approvals to install a Serra at its entrance just behind "The Apotheosis of St. Louis," the bronze statue depicting King Louis IX, the city's namesake.

Don't worry, Serra haters, this one isn't nearly as conspicuous as the eight, giant steel slabs that fill a city block on the Gateway Mall. In fact, Serra's "To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted" has been installed in the area before. More than once.

"It's not 'Twain,'" said Art Museum spokesman Matthew Hathaway, referring to the downtown sculpture. "The profile, like I said, it's embedded in the street."

The artwork planned for the Art Museum, which basically looks like a circle with a 26-foot diameter, will be planted in Fine Arts Drive, flush with the pavement, so it won't serve as an obstruction to motorists or pedestrians.

Originally installed by Serra at an intersection in the Bronx in 1970, the artwork was acquired by local collectors Jan and Ronald Greenberg, who had it at their home from 1973 through 1978. The Greenbergs then lent it to Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis County until they gifted it to the Art Museum in 1984.

The Art Museum had it installed in the parking lot at the south entrance of the museum. It was removed in 2008 when the museum began construction of the East Building and placed in storage.

Brent Benjamin, the Art Museum's director, said Monday that Serra was "the most important living sculptor in America" and noted that the piece proposed for Forest Park is "his first major outdoor sculpture." The museum has checked with Serra, and "this is the site he would prefer," Benjamin said.

St. Louis has had ties to Serra and his minimalist work for nearly 50 years thanks to the influence of Joseph Pulitzer Jr., the late editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and his widow, Emily Rauh Pulitzer. Joseph Pulitzer commissioned one of Serra's first site-specific works at his home in 1970. …

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