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American artist Richard Serra, known for his large-scale steel sculptures, passed away at the age of 85. Born in San Francisco to a Spanish father and Russian mother, Serra spent time in marine shipyards as a child and later worked in steel mills. Despite the grand size of his works, Serra was considered a minimalist artist and focused on the relationship between his art and the viewer.

Serra moved to New York in 1966 after studying at the University of California, Berkeley, and Yale University. He began creating art using industrial materials such as metal, fiberglass, and rubber. While some of his works were well-received, others, such as the 1981 piece “Tilted Arc,” faced criticism and were ultimately removed from public view due to public backlash. However, he gained recognition in 1969 when he was featured at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

In the early 1980s, Serra traveled to Spain to study Mozarabic architecture, which influenced his work. His art gained popularity in Europe, where he had solo exhibitions in major museums in Germany and France. His work was especially appreciated in Spain, where the Reina Sofia museum held a retrospective of his work in 1992. Additionally, Serra had a dedicated exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry.

Serra’s appearance was described as powerful and intense, with a resemblance to Picasso. He came to the realization that he was not a painter after seeing Diego Velazquez’s “Las Meninas” in the Prado museum in Madrid. This experience made him shift his focus from painting to sculpting. Despite facing criticism and setbacks throughout his career, Serra continued to create monumental steel sculptures that left a lasting impact on the art world.

Richard Serra’s legacy as a groundbreaking artist who challenged traditional artistic norms lives on through his sculptures. His ability to evoke emotion and engage viewers through his monumental works solidifies his place in art history. The influence of his minimalist approach and the use of industrial materials continues to inspire artists and art enthusiasts around the world. Serra’s contribution to the art world will be remembered for years to come, as his monumental sculptures continue to captivate audiences and spark dialogue about the relationship between art and space.

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