NOV 2 Today is the birthday of Richard Serra, born 1938 in San Francisco. His father was a pipefitter at a shipyard, and his mother encouraged young Richard’s interest in art. After earning an MFA from Yale, Serra spent time in Paris studying in modern sculpture patriarch Constantine Brancusi’s studio. He then spent time in Florence and began experimenting with nontraditional sculptural materials. Certainly, his father’s profession and Serra’s time working in shipyards and steel mills inspired him to create his large-scale sculptures with steel. In the early 1960s, Serra composed a list of over 100 transitive verbs–like to roll, to splash, to bend, to twist–to guide his process. One Ton Prop (House of Cards) is made of four rectangles of lead antimony propped together, each side working to hold the others up.

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