What’s happening out there?

By | September 28, 2018

A rendering of Richard Serra’s “To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted” embedded in Fine Arts Drive.

An important work by American sculptor Richard Serra is being installed in the road between the Main Building steps and the Apotheosis of St. Louis statue. Serra meant for this work to be embedded in asphalt so that it can be driven and walked over, rather than simply observed.

The sculpture—To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted—consists of large circular forms embedded eight inches in the ground, visible from above though barely apparent at street level. The sculpture is simple in form though complex in conception. As the title suggests, the two steel flanges come together to encircle, contain, and define space.

Serra’s first public artwork in the United States, this sculpture was originally installed in a street in the Bronx, New York, from 1970 to 1972 in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture. The sculpture was subsequently purchased by St. Louis collectors Ronald and Jan Greenberg, who donated it to the Museum in 1984. The work was installed near the south entrance to the Museum until 2008, when it was removed in preparation for construction of the East Building. The project is made possible by a generous gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer.

In addition to the installation of the sculpture, the project will include replacing the roadbed and improving storm-water drainage. When completed, the street will be safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

The museum and the public parking lots on Art Hill will remain open. Motorists will be able to reach the museum’s garage only by approaching from the direction of Government Drive and the Saint Louis Zoo. Fine Arts Drive is expected to reopen in early December.

We appreciate your patience as we make significant improvements to Fine Arts Drive.