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Renowned Amerian sculptor Richard Serra, often hailed as the ‘Poet of Iron,’ passed away at the age of 85

Renowned American artist and sculptor Richard Serra, celebrated for his transformative use of malleable materials to create monumental outdoor artworks scattered worldwide, passed away on Tuesday at his residence in Long Island, New York. He was 85 years old.

Heralded as one of the foremost sculptors of his era, Serra, originally from San Francisco, initially pursued painting at Yale University before transitioning to sculpture in the 1960s, influenced by his travels in Europe.

His passing was confirmed Tuesday evening by his attorney, John Silberman, of a New York-based firm, who cited pneumonia as the cause of death.

Dubbed the “poet of iron” by his peers, Serra gained international acclaim for his expansive steel structures, characterized by monumental arcs, spirals, and ellipses, aligning closely with the minimalist movement of the 1970s.

Serra’s prominence surged in 1981 with the installation of “Tilted Arc,” a 120-foot-long and 12-foot-high curving wall of raw steel in New York City’s Federal Plaza. Despite sparking controversy and subsequent removal, the piece solidified Serra’s standing in the city’s art scene.

Utilizing primarily Cor-Ten steel, Serra also experimented with unconventional materials like rubber, latex, neon, and molten lead, the latter employed in his early “Splash” series.

His monumental works adorn landscapes and feature prominently in museum collections worldwide, from The Museum of Modern Art in New York to the deserts of Qatar.

In 2005, eight significant pieces by Serra found a permanent home at the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, a testament to his unparalleled influence in contemporary sculpture, according to exhibition organizer Carmen Jimenez.

Born to a Russian-Jewish mother and a Spanish father in San Francisco, Serra demonstrated artistic inclinations from an early age, drawing inspiration from his father’s employment at a shipyard. Prior to sculpting, he worked in steel foundries to support his education at the University of California, Berkeley, and Santa Barbara, before graduating from Yale in 1964.

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