Ah, those pesky associations: as I walked the curves and alleys of Richard Serra’s Junction/Cycle now showing at the Gagosian Gallery, the déjà vu practically bit my butt. Those swerving surfaces reminded me of other Serras, sure, but they also resemble the vistas captured in the film 127 Hours, the biopic about hiker Aron Ralston’s harrowing entrapment in Blue John Canyon near Moab, Utah.
Thankfully no such danger awaits visitors to the Gagosian unless a vicious attack of awe counts. Encountering Serra’s ceiling high steel waves—make no mistake, size accounts as much for this work’s impact as its golden brick patina, as idealized a shade of rust as one will see in this lifetime—gives the viewer an immediate sense of dislocation. Thoughts of Manhattan, the temporal world, evaporate, an effect eerily similar to that wrought by Anish Kapoor’s Memory, seen at the Guggenheim in 2008.
As if ushered by the changing of the leaves, the season of Serra is upon us, what with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s hosting of his Drawings: A Retrospective. But the sculpture rules, and Junction/Cycle is only on view until November 26. Ditch the nature walk: behold instead some riveting art, wrought by a mere mortal. It’ll stir your soul–and it’s way cheaper than a trip to Utah.
Richard Serra: Junction/Cycle at Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th Street, NYC