Moore and Serra, Bronze and Steel

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.”
― Henry Moore

  Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 2 Richard Serra, Vortex Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Henry Moore, Two-Piece Reclining Figure No. 2
Richard Serra, Vortex
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

What interests me is the opportunity for all of us to become something different from what we are, by constructing spaces that contribute something to the experience of who we are.
—-Richard Serra

Inside the Vortex

“The Total Perspective Vortex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses.

To explain — since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation — every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.

The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically in order to annoy his wife.

Trin Tragula — for that was his name — was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.

“Have some sense of proportion!” she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.
And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex — just to show her.

And into one end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

To Trin Tragula’s horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.”
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

inside of: Vortex Richard Serra Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

inside of:
Richard Serra
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

My Curves Are Not Mad

The vertical is in my spirit. It helps me to define precisely the direction of lines, and in quick sketches I never indicate a curve, that of a branch in landscape for example, without being aware of its relationship to the vertical.
My curves are not mad.

La verticale est dans mon esprit. Elle m’aide à préciser la direction des lignes, et dans mes dessins rapides je n’indique pas une courbe, par exemple, celle d’une branche dans un paysage, sans avoir conscience de son rapport avec la verticale.
Mes courbes ne sont pas folles.

—-Henri Matisse from Jazz

Boy looking at his shadow on Richard Serra's My Curves Are Not Mad - Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

Boy looking at his shadow on Richard Serra’s My Curves Are Not Mad – Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

Walking around Nasher garden, I spotted this child walking up to Richard Serra’s massive Cor-Ten walk-through sculpture, My Curves Are Not Mad – he stopped and stared at his shadow on the steel. I barely had time to raise my camera and squeeze off this shot.

Earlier in the day, we had listened to a discussion of public art and the way it relates to the current Nasher Xchange exhibition that is taking place in various public locations all over the city of Dallas. A lot of the discussion touched on the controversy over Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc and how the public’s attitude toward public sculpture has changed in the time since that disaster. It was a very interesting discussion.

Everybody seems to like My Curves Are Not Mad – but then again, it wasn’t installed by the government.

And certainly the history of public sculpture has been disastrous but that doesn’t mean it ought not to continue and the only way it even has a chance to continue is if the work gets out into the public.
—-Richard Serra

Three shot from one spot, resting my feet by the Henry Moore

Working Model for Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae, by Henry Moore

My Curves Are Not Mad, by Richard Serra

Eve, by Auguste Rodin

There’s a nice stone bench behind the Henry Moore sculpture in the Nasher Sculpture Garden, where you can take a load off of your feet and look out at all the folks wandering around. It’s one of my favorite spots.