Administrator’s Note: This week, Antea Roberts grapples with the dilemma of “site-specificity” and the “late Modernist” sculpture of Richard Serra.
Juli Carson speaks of Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc and the controversy surrounding his site-specific piece, but can a site-specific work really be site-specific if it interferes with the environment? Carson states there is “…a dialectic between a work seen to transcend any physical union with its site and a work seen to transcend any physical contradiction with its site” (pg 332). So what are you really trying to comment on with a work of art like this? How the work interacts with the environment or how the public reacts to a work placed in their environment, disrupting life?
Carson goes on to question whether sculpture can be defined neither as architecture nor as landscape. Could Serra’s Tilted Arc be defined as all three? Can sculpture be site-specific in a gallery space? The lighting, public surrounding the piece, and how they fit into the space, [the] environment it’s placed in - a gallery space - is the quintessential site.
Carson tried very hard to bring a new perspective to the debate on Tilted Arc, but I found her trite diatribe about “Father as Source” and “logos as being” a poor linkage to our Earth’s history to one man’s selfish quest through his sculptural/architectural/site-specific piece that ultimately meant more in its destruction that [in] its presence.
Reading for 2 May: Ch. 29: Repossessing Popular Culture by Laura Kipnis.