26 November 2009

shiny richard serra

Sometimes you take a picture and it comes out unlike what you expected. This Richard Serra is one of three or four at Storm King Art Center near Newburgh, New York. I stopped on the way back from another week of backlog cataloging at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. I wanted to see the Maya Lin "Wavefield" which is out beyond Andy Goldsworthy's wall. The "Wavefield" was pretty interesting. From the front side, it looked about like pictures I'd seen, but on the back side, it's wonderfully rustic this time of year, in the dried grass stage of autumn when they've started the reseeding for next year. It was drizzly as I walked around the grounds; not quite enough to get you soaked or to force you to get the umbrella out, but drippy. The Serras were slick wet and I liked the way the surface reflected the crest of the hill into which the slabs are inserted. The reflection turned out making the piece looking like the "start" arrow of a YouTube video.

My stop at Storm King was after I'd visited the campus of SUNY New Paltz, my alma mater. In 1967-1968, my senior year, the Wooster Science Building was being built. Designed by Davis Brody, it reminded me of Le Corbusier's La Tourette. We're talking high new brutalism. I thought it was just wonderful: the concrete, the pour forms, the staircases. When Daniel Starr and I visited the campus a decade or so ago, again on a drippy day as I remember, Daniel thought it was the ugliest campus he'd ever seen. Well, I couldn't really argue; it's the state college stuff from the 1960s SUNY boom. Thanks, Nelson Rockefeller. There are now a good number of post-1960s buildings around the edges but it's still a SUNY campus. And I love the Wooster Science Building.


nbmandel said...

Sherman, that's a great picture of the Serra. And I applaud your standing up for the late 60s in architecture, when it works.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving (post-).

bklynbiblio said...

Great picture, Sherman. His work looks so much more appealing and appropriate when it's part of the elements.