WAKE by Richard Sera
Richard Sera

Above are pictures of other works by the artist

2004, weatherproof steel, 14 feet by 125 feet by 46 feet. Purchased with funds from Susan and Jeffrey Brotman, Virginia and Bagley Wright, Ann Wyckoff and SAM. Walking among the five massive components of this 300-ton sculpture, you might get a little twinge of danger and awe — like you'd feel walking along a steep mountain ridge or next to an enormous ship. This is art you have to get next to and experience, not just look at across the field — although I must say, it looks pretty good that way, too. Serra's point is to have us become more than observers. He wants us to actually participate in the sculpture, as part of the shifting relationship of forms. Serra — a native of San Francisco — is one of the preeminent sculptors of our time, with work in museums around the world. Artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney pinned Serra's status by casting him as a sort of a Freudian father figure in the film "Cremaster 3." But Serra's career hasn't all been rosy. In the 1980s, when his vast steel sculpture "Tilted Arc" was installed on a public plaza in New York, it set off a storm of protest. From a strictly formal standpoint, the piece probably fit the location, but its disregard for pedestrian traffic and views pitted the sculptor against some angry New Yorkers. Eventually, "Tilted Arc" was taken down and scrapped, but not forgotten. It's a different story here with "Wake." Far from being an obstruction, this impressive sculpture is a destination. At 125 feet long, "Wake" is huge, yet it has a fluidity that suits the nearness of Puget Sound. Its wavy parts seem to fishtail through space, held upright by their enormous weight and smart engineering. You might think of a ship's wake or its looming hull. Even though the sculpture wasn't designed specifically for the park (it was first shown at the Gagosian Gallery in New York), Serra chose this location and configured the piece to fit it. By the way: You don't need to worry about getting close to "Wake." It's installed to withstand earthquakes


Art at Sculpture Garden