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Model of installation
"The Matter of Time"
Photo courtesy of Richard Serra

Bird's-eye rendering of the Arcelor Gallery with layout of installation "The Matter of Time"
Image courtesy of Richard Serra
Artnet News

On Apr. 12, 2005, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum hosted a press junket at its downtown headquarters at 575 Broadway -- yes, the museum still has a SoHo outpost, though the public space closed several years ago -- to announce the installation of "The Matter of Time" a series of seven new mammoth Richard Serra sculptures fabricated as a permanent commission for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation director Thomas Krens played emcee to the assembled dignitaries, who included Serra himself as well as Bilbao director general Juan Ignacio Vidarte.

The seven sculptures assembled from two-inch-thick steel sections of elliptical arcs range in size from the smallest, Torqued Ellipse (2003-04), measuring 14 x 27 3 x 29', to the largest, Between the Torus and the Sphere (2003-05), at 14 x 50 x 53 11.4." Building upon his "Torqued Ellipses" (which debuted in the mid-nineties), the sculptures feature sharper curves courtesy of recent advancements in steel fabrication. The new series is being installed with Snake, the 104-foot-long curvilinear work commissioned from Serra by the Bilbao in 1996, in the museum's ca. 430 ft. long Arcelor gallery (renamed after the global steel company that underwrote the project).

The 66-year-old artist sternly addressed the press corps extrapolating on the meaning of the installation. Above all he stresses the experience of the installation, which he describes as, ". . . non-narrative, discontinuous, de-centered, disorienting." He continues, "The perceptual fragmentation, the multiplicity of views, the discontinuity in the process of viewing contribute to the fact that the installation cannot be reduced to one attainable image."

"The Matter of Time" opens to the public on June 8, 2005, and will be the largest site-specific installation in the world. No sum was given for the price of the commission.

-- Nicole Davis

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