American, born 1939
For Richard Serra, space is a substance as tangible as sculpture. He uses materials and scale to alter perception and to engage the body, encouraging consciousness of our relation to space. The towering, curved steel forms of Wake were achieved with computer imaging and machines that manufacture ship hulls, including a demilitarized machine that once made French nuclear submarines. It is composed of five identical modules, each with two S-shaped sections positioned in inverted relation to one another—gently curving serpentines of convex and concave parts that suggest tidal waves or profiles of battleships. The surface of acid-washed, weather-proof steel reinforces this industrial effect. Wake's powerful silhouette belies a complex configuration of parts: the whole cannot be known at once, only experienced with physical movement and progressively over time.
10 plates, 5 sets of locked toroid forms, weatherproof steel, each set, overall: 14 ft. 1 1/4 in. x 48 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 4 3/8 in.; overall installation: 14 ft. 1/4 in. H. x 125 ft. L x 46 ft. W. ; plate thickness 2"; weight: 30 tons (each plate), Purchased with funds from Jeffrey and Susan Brotman, Virginia and Bagley Wright, Ann Wyckoff and the Modern Art Acquisition Fund, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2004.94, © Richard Serra
Provenance: [Gagosian Gallery, New York]; purchased from gallery by Seattle Art Museum (funds from donors), 2004