Child exploring a Richard Serra at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Yes it is true, Richard Serra's sculptures are not only dangerous, they are a huge curiosity to children. I was there when a young boy was pushing on one of the vertical plates. A security guard from the museum told the father, who was standing nearby, that if he did not control the child and get him to refrain from pushing on the plates that he would have to arrest the father. As the New York Art online magazine put it, "Sculpture was supposed to be an object in a gallery, something to be politely circumnavigated; Serra’s art swallowed you whole." It is true that a Serra sculpture had, indirectly, killed someone (a rigger, crushed to death in the early seventies). The current show of Serra's Torqued Ellipses at the Dia Center for the Arts, New York, is a bit more connected to the floor and has a seemingly better overall balance and possibly a lot safer to walk around.
What is so horrifying...? Serra's art is magnificent and stunning. The bigger the better...I could think of a lot of other so called art...it is all an educated opinion anyways...and with my M.F.A. I find challenging the more out there the better...but then again I love the narrative and some of the work of the so called realism revival movement ...or whatever...as well...What I do not like is pompous attitude...and flippent (and bad spelling...sic)...silly remarks to get attention. Thank goodness we have a lot of freedom to explore...unlike many backward cultures stuck in controlling the public.
It is the parents' responsibility to be responsible for their child inside a museum or art gallery. And, unless the public was invited to touch the artworks, the mother should not have allowed her child to approach that closely. Clearly it would have been difficult for her to remove him from inside even if there were no disaster. (What was she thinking?)But with that said, you also expect that a museum with sculpture that beckons to us as this does (that's why we like it) would insist on at least the minimum requirements for engineering structures that will potentially have people touching or in them. Even if there were barriers to keep people out, as a museum, you cannot assume that nobody will leap in for a curious touch or risk a crawl-through. Gravity is not enough to stop the exceptionally gifted. :)
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