Richard Serra’s show “Junction/Cycle” at Gagosian Gallery displays familiar curved steel plates and smooth curves. Unlike the underwhelming drawing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum this summer (Richard Serra’s Drawings: A Retrospective), “Junction/Cycle” reveals the continuation of the sculptures art audiences love. The gallery is dominated by two oversized sculptures, expanding outward from Serra’s distinctive Torqued Ellipses. Each of the sculptures had multiple pathways, entrances, and exists. Unlike many of the Serra sculptures I am familiar with, the two sculptures allow the viewer to choose his/her own path through the work. The element of choice allows Serra to organize the movement of people around the gallery space, but allows a personalized encounter with the sculptures.
Junction and Cycle almost invite the viewer to weave in and out of the sculpture. The welcoming attitude of the sculptures is a marked difference from Serra’s more abrasive early work, for example Tilted Arc. The rust of the steel made the sculptures appear more tactile, less cold. The color of the rust provided the viewer with a less sterile experience.
The sculptures were so gigantic that they dwarfed the cavernous Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. The ceiling hovered above the sculptures making them seem more claustrophobic than usual, making me think that Serra based the height on the gallery space. Despite the cramped quarters, it was a treat to see Serra’s new offerings.
Richard Serra’s “Junction/Cycle” will be at Gagosian Gallery until November 26th.