Yes, visceral - my vertigo certainly attested to that.
I am having a hard time understanding what is violent about his work. Is it the physical weight of the work and the seeming deception of gravity? Or that it killed (but that is not the work as a complete installed piece)?
I would use the word subtle too.
I am glad you separate the man’s reputation from his art, thank you.

- selma 4-13-2004 10:08 pm

Between violent and violence there seems to be an interesting shift of emphasis between raw physical force and the social dimensions of force. Metaphorizing between the two may be at the root of some people’s animus against Serra.

I suppose we might say “delicately balanced” about the house of card or prop pieces, which sounds pretty, but the chance of collapse is always there as an implicit violence. Then there are the pieces where he flung molten metal the way Pollock flung paint. Pollock’s exertions produced paintings that perhaps appear less “violent” than those of de Kooning or Kline, but his physical activity seems to have had more influence in the end, and hot metal is genuinely dangerous.

All of AbEx is founded in the psycho/sexual violence of the Surrealist reading of Freud, perhaps best exemplified by Gorky. His paintings are exquisite and delicate, but also incredibly violent and painful. No surprise he was a suicide, but then so was Rothko, who represents the sublime side of AbEx, reminding us that the concept of the sublime has perhaps taken a road opposite that of violence: forgetting Burke’s notion that it is founded in “terror.”

Chave is not exactly wrong when she says that Minimalism reveals something “usually far more attractively masked”, but some of us think the unmasking was a service, correcting an imbalance in the equation between individual neurosis and broader cultural pathology, rather than a deployment of controlling power. Certainly Serra’s power was puny in comparison to the coalition (spearheaded by a Federal judge) that destroyed the Tilted Arc. That was an act of violence.
- alex 4-16-2004 10:24 pm [add a comment]

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