Serra vs. Junker

Richard Serra and I agree, I think, that sculpture is not a joke (not Hirst, not Koons, not even Duchamp, except as a limiting case).

It is deadly serious, an attempt to reduce, not elaborate, toward an essential gesture.

It is the manipulation of a single material—a monolith (single stone)—to define  space.

It is not an agglomeration—or assemblage—of many, or even just a few, disparate fragments; after you’ve seen one hodge-podge, you’ve seen them all.

And it is not carving away—diminishing—a chunk in hopes of finding a more illustrative form.

We both begin with material that is flat—a sheet—as close to two-dimensional as possible.

But, as Carl Andre demonstrated, flat is not enough: tiles can be spread in grids—or units stacked or butted—but their perimeter is ill-defined (endless) and their joints monotonous.

So we stand the slab on edge and play with it. We deploy it to shape space in an (almost) continuous arc.

That’s the only gesture that has interested Serra in recent years, but I am out to bust Serra’s paradigm, and my work stands in absolute opposition to his.

For example,

Serra                                 Junker

Public                                Private

Monumental                    Ephemeral

Monstrous                        Miniature

Industrial                         Domestic

Heavy -duty                      Flimsy

Steel plate                        Aluminum  foil

Arcs                                   Wrinkles

Tough                                Fragile

Computer-generated      Spontaneous

Hegemonic                       Anarchic

Permanent                       Contingent

Rusty                                 Shiny

Difficult                            Easy

Aggrandizing                  Diffident

Costly                                Cheap

Walk-in                             See-through

Iconic                               Idiosyncratic

Smooth                              Wrinkled

Solid                                   Holey

Portentous                         Playful

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