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Open Access Richard Serra: Sculpture, television, and the status quo

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While he is appreciated primarily as a sculptor, Richard Serra also made several films and videos in the 1960s and 1970s which have a pivotal role in both the history of avant-garde film and the development of early video art. This article takes into account this ‘collateral’ production, suggesting that Serra’s work is not merely formalist or materialist. Rather, as his video work suggests, his larger sculptural works and conceptual approach require a re-interpretation as commentaries on social and political issues. This essay focuses on the artist’s videos, reading them as an extension of both his films and his sculptural production, but which takes a more explicit stance than either. The essay will also take into account the similarities between Serra’s stance and that of the contemporary Guerrilla Television movement, trying to position them within the articulated history of the relationships between contemporary art and mass media.
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Keywords: Guerrilla Television; Raindance Corporation; Richard Serra; Rosalind Krauss; art; conceptual art; minimalism; performance art; politics; sculpture; television; video art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Francesco Spampinato is a New York-based contemporary art historian and writer. He is Adjunct Professor at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Ph.D. candidate in Arts et M├ędia at Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. He is the author of Come Together: The Rise of Cooperative Art and Design (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015) and Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists (Eindhoven: Onomatopee, 2015).

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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  • NECSUS is an international, double-blind peer reviewed journal of media studies connected to NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) and published by Amsterdam University Press. The journal is multidisciplinary and strives to bring together the best work in the field of media studies across the humanities and social sciences. We aim to publish research that matters and that improves the understanding of media and culture inside and outside the academic community. Each volume includes feature articles, a special thematic section, a video essay section, and a reviews section that covers books, festivals, and exhibitions. NECSUS is targeted to a broad readership of researchers, lecturers, and students, and will be offered as a biannual open access, online journal.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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