Divisive Richard Serra Sculpture May Return Back to Public Viewing in Paris

‘Clara-Clara’ has been held in storage since the early ’90s following harsh disapproval from locals.

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The city of Paris may reinstall a towering steel sculpture by the late American artist Richard Serra, following his death last month. Clara-Clara, which Serra had originally created back in 1983 for an exhibition at Centre Pompidou, features two 118-foot-long slender rusty steel sheets that extend slightly off-kilter, once forming a pathway at the Tuileries Garden just in sight of the historic Place de la Concorde.

Just two years after its unveiling, Clara-Clara was purchased by the city and relocated to a smaller park in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, resulting in criticism from the public who both defaced it with graffiti and demanded its removal. To the dismay of Serra, city officials would end up storing the sculpture in 1993 on the outskirts of Paris at the Fonds Municipaux d’Art Contemporain (FMAC), which oversees over 23,000 works of art, only to return for brief 2008 exhibition called Monumenta.

“What future can there be for a major sculpture like this?” asked Aurelien Véron, a member of Groupe Changer Paris (“Change Paris group”) a Republican right-wing group, via a statement on X. Véron called on the mayor’s office to reinstall the work permanently, claiming that “Parisians deserve this.” While no decision has been made, Paris’ deputy mayor of culture, Carine Rolland, says that city officials are considering three possible locations “in the historic heart of Paris,” according to a report by Le Monde.

Serra, who was one of the pioneers of the Minimalist movements of the 1960s, transformed the boundaries of sculpture, using unorthodox materials to spark dialogues regarding space and movement. He recently passed away at age 85, in his Orient, New York home from complications with pneumonia.

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