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Richard Serra, "Band," 2006

Richard Serra on his sculpture, Band: "you can walk inside and outside continuously and never stop” for more than 70 feet. Learn more about what artists have to say in our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] The three Serra sculptures in this gallery were conceived and built for this room. They were brought in through a 40 foot door that open onto the empty lot next to the museum. Each weights between 100 and 200 tons. This one called "Band" snakes horizontally for more than 70 feet. - [Voiceover] This piece unfolds its curvature in a new template. It has nothing to do with any of the pieces that have come before. It's totally different vocabulary. What I'd like you to do is walk the entire piece. You can walk inside and outside continuously if you'd like and never stop. - [Voiceover] There are four volumes. They move in and out, and the piece moves in and out. There's a shift between inside and outside that seems continuous. There are some spaces when you go into, you think you've been in before, but you realize you haven't. You sense that they're similar, but they're all dissimilar. It's difficult to one space from the other. The entire sheet of steel, as it ungulates though the space changes continuously, and its interior exterior is continually exchanging. - [Voiceover] Serra says that the sculpture creates new spaces within the architecture of the room. - [Voiceover] Look, if this room were empty it's like a field of space bounded by these walls. Then, when you walk into a piece like this, you're just dealing with the sculpture volume, not the volume of the architecture of this room. - [Voiceover] Serra worked out "Band" in a series of inch to a foot scale lead models. - [Voiceover] I built "Band" in models for about three years, and then I built it in steel mill, and then I went to look at it. It was definitely a new experience, and I didn't know what to make of it for a couple of days. It wasn't a questions of quality. I didn't understand the space of it. That surprised me. - [Voiceover] Finally, Serra felt that he had a grasp of this sculpture, and it's newly created form. - [Voiceover] Thought it was better than I thought it was. I've been looking at 40 years of work. You make distentions, and I think this is as interesting as anything else in the show. - [Voiceover] Serra was asked if "Band" would lead him in new directions. - [Voiceover] I think it all ready has, you know.