ST. LOUIS, Sept. 28, 2018—A section of Fine Arts Drive in front of the Saint Louis Art Museum will close for two months starting Monday so the museum can make road improvements, including the installation of an important work by American sculptor Richard Serra.
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.
The sculpture—“To Encircle Base Plate Hexagram, Right Angles Inverted”—will be embedded in the asphalt between the steps of the museum’s Main Building and the statue of St. Louis.
The sculpture consists of large circular forms embedded eight inches in the ground, visible from above though barely apparent at street level. Serra meant for this work to be driven and walked over, rather than simply observed. Serra’s first public artwork in the United States, the 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 Ronnie and Jan Greenberg, who donated it to the museum. 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.
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 project has been reviewed and approved by several regulatory authorities, including the Forest Park Advisory Board, the St. Louis Preservation Board, and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. That measure was signed by St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on Sept. 18.
The museum is funding the improvements thanks to a gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer.