A Curator Answers: Installing Serra

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Band, Richard Serra, 2006, purchased with funds provided by Eli and Edythe L. Broad

One of the most popular questions we’ve received from you in our Ask a Curator series has been about how we got Richard Serra’s giant steel sculptures into our contemporary art building. Here, Lynn Zelevansky, LACMA’s department head of contemporary art, explains the process.

The building, BCAM, is equipped with two very large “barn doors” on the first and second floors. Sequence, which is made up of a series of large heavy cor-ten steel pieces, traveled across the country on flatbed trucks, with each piece having its own truck. The parts stayed outside on the grass until we were ready to install the work.

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Serra installation pieces with BCAM under construction in the background.

Then each piece was brought into the building by crane (the divisions between the parts are visible as lines that run from the top to the bottom of the work), through the barn doors on the first floor. The process of putting Sequence together went surprisingly quickly; it only took a few days. Once the work was complete, the doors were shut and the opening covered over, making it indistinguishable from the rest of the wall on the inside.

Lynn Zelevansky

PS: We also have an interview with the artist on lacma.org, where he talks about the entire process of creating and installing the sculpture.

Our curators are working on your other questions submitted here or via our Twitter account and Facebook page—please keep them coming!

3 Responses to A Curator Answers: Installing Serra

  1. [...] part of its Ask a Curator series, LACMA’s blog explores how the museum installed those giant steel Richard Serra sculptures on the ground floor of the Broad… We already knew individual pieces traveled across the country on flat bed trucks and were parked on [...]

  2. andrew sussman says:

    my question is not how but WHY?
    the space ruins the sculptures, the space is too low and small to fully see and experience the pieces. i can only hope this is a temporary installation.

  3. Hannah says:

    Here’s a question – I’ve seen many Serra sculptures, whether it be the two sculptures in St. Louis (Twain and Joe) or at a MOMA exhibition, and many of these sculptures have been both inside or outside. With the use of the cor-ten steel, does the patina change inside the museum environment as quickly, if at all, like outside Serra sculptures? Obviously, if it changes, it does so in a slower process, but does that change the overall aesthetic of Serra sculptures? Are they best seen outside or inside?

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