Richard Serra (born November 2, 1939) is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for working with large-scale assemblies of sheet metal. Serra was involved in the Process Art Movement.
Serra was born in San Francisco and he went on to study English literature at the University of California, Berkeley and later at the University of California, Santa Barbara between 1957 and 1961. He then studied fine art at Yale University between 1961 and 1964. While on the West Coast, he helped support himself by working in steel mills, which was to have a strong influence on his later work. In June, 2008, Williams College conferred upon Serra the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.
Serra’s earliest work was abstract and process-based made from molten lead hurled in large splashes against the wall of a studio or exhibition space. Still, he is better known for his minimalist constructions from large rolls and sheets of metal (COR-TEN-Steel). Many of these pieces are self-supporting and emphasize the weight and nature of the materials. Rolls of lead are designed to sag over time. His exterior steel sculptures go through an initial oxidation process, but after 8–10 years, the patina of the steel settles to one color that will remain relatively stable over the piece’s life. Serra often constructs site-specific installations, frequently on a scale that dwarfs the observer.