Image: Serra w/umbrella

Serra, umbrella, St. Louis, rainy day

A few weekends back I visited my dear friend Marilu in St. Louis. I had never been to St. Louis before. I love the experience of exploring a new place. This is my favorite photo from the weekend. It was taken in the back yard of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, from inside a Richard Serra sculpture there. The sculpture was commissioned as part of the building’s design, and Serra collaborated with architect Tadao Ando. These guys are art-world rock stars, and as art-world rock stars go they I put them in a category of people who have earned the awe that surrounds them. It was an overcast, rainy day, hence the umbrella. I always love the experience of walking into one of Serra’s spirals, which compress space, reorient the horizon (hey, where is the horizon anymore?), disorient their visitors while tantalizing them. The feeling I am most reminded of hearkens to childhood, when I’d find a secret space. A path in the woods, perhaps. Or a mysterious attic. When fascination could easily trump fear, because I knew too little to envision what kind of danger might be around the corner. I almost feel like that walking through one of Serra’s spirals.

I walked into the middle, looked up, then turned to wait for Marilu and her umbrella to arrive, and then I snapped this image.

Postscript: It’s been a Very Serra Spring, because I also visited a Serra on the campus of Princeton University recently. And this is where I have to publicly apologize for touching the Serra, which Marilu scolded me about. Of course she runs a sculpture park. And I would never argue with her, she’s too tough.

"The Hedgehog and the Fox" and me


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