Richard Serra on Charlie Rose, the abandoned transcript

Back in the day (2001), I set my VCR to tape this interview of Richard Serra on Charlie Rose. I kept returning to it because it was so rich. I started transcribing it one night so I could share it with friends, though my computer can’t locate where it went… Google Video to the rescue.

I’ve learned as much about photography from poetry, painters and cinema than anywhere else. There’s something to be said for art ghettos, and rent’s cheap on photography’s block. It never hurts to take the train uptown and see what’s going on in sculpture, video art, or textiles, even. Even if you hate it.

There’s a great book of Serra’s words and interviews over on Amazon, if you like the direction of this.


2 thoughts on “Richard Serra on Charlie Rose, the abandoned transcript”

  1. This interview is fascinating, not only because of the concepts that he’s discussing, but because he is so lucid about the discussion… the process, his goals, the analysis of his own work in context of art as a vehicle of ideas… of “how things work” (materials and culture) and what he’s trying to accomplish within that, separate of who he is. He speaks about it, not as a need to express himself, but more about the ideas he wants to uncover.

    On a sidenote, I didn’t know about Tilted Arc, but from this interview, my interpretation would be that the government removed it because they did “get it” and didn’t like the connotations.

    From my point of view, Tilted Arc could be seen as an editorial comment about people in the space leading up to the building… a wall, yes, but more provoking a response to the feeling of an obstacle blocking a straight pathway, the process of walking around it to get to where you’re going, the emotional reaction of each person while they’re arc’ing themselves… and a perception of the arc changing as you walk around it. The curve and lean of the piece is a part of the commentary, and as people walk around it, the horizon and volume of the shape changes, thus changing the perception of the journey.

    Perhaps it’s a more powerful piece in context of its dismantling: people’s perceptions of it as an idea (whatever your interpretation) is much stronger because of both the political reaction and sociological dialog that it sparked.

  2. I like what you’re thinking, Rion. It makes sense that there’s art that’s made to be sacrificed, I suppose, and that its destruction (however warranted or illegal) is as much part of the piece as its creation.

    Personally, I like hearing him talk about the purposelessness of art – which makes complete sense when considering sculpture or poetry, and how he extends this idea as a way of bashing Frank Gehry and attention-hungry architects…

    I also like how he makes grand, self-congratulatory statements and then says he isn’t being self-congratulatory. It’s always nice to come across an honest statement in contradiction with itself.

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