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Richard Serra

Serra exercises no-ties deal for Zwirner show

Richard Serra's new sculpture exhibition bypasses Gagosian

The artist Richard Serra is working on a major new sculpture for exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery in May 2015. The work will go on show in the vast building that Zwirner opened on West 20th Street in New York last year.

The news will be seen as a coup for Zwirner but a blow for Gagosian Gallery, which has been Serra’s primary dealer since the 1990s and is currently mounting an exhibition of four large-scale steel sculptures in its Britannia Street space (“Backdoor Pipeline, Ramble, Dead Load, London Cross”, until 28 February).

While Serra’s relationship with Gagosian has long been non-exclusive, it has generally been assumed that this was the only gallery with the space and structural capacity to show the artist’s large Minimalist sculptures, which can weigh hundreds of tonnes. But, a team of engineers has already assessed the Zwirner space and confirmed that the weight of the new work, which is currently in production, can be supported, says Bellatrix Hubert, a senior partner at Zwirner. “We had to make sure the gallery could accommodate Richard’s idea.”

Zwirner first approached the artist— who received a lifetime achievement award at the Americans for the Arts gala last month—about staging a show of early work last spring. That exhibition provided “us with the chance to work with Richard and get to know him. Now we are focusing on his recent work”, Hubert says. The gallery will also open a show of new drawings, “Vertical and Horizontal Reversals”, in its space on West 20th Street next month (7 November until 20 December).

“We’re really working with Richard and his team. They make the calls. We don’t need to worry about what it means—we need to worry about putting on great shows and making this interesting for Richard,” Hubert says. “We are very committed to him and his work.”

A spokeswoman for Gagosian says it “is Richard Serra’s primary gallery although he occasionally has had shows at other galleries over the years. In addition, he is working on an important new sculpture for a future show in our Chelsea gallery.”