Bilbao circle | Richard Long | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
Past exhibition

Important Sculptors of the Twentieth Century

03.18.2003 - 01.11.2004

The use of nontraditional materials to create large-scale sculpture, as well as the means by which such work relates to its surroundings, are concerns that have occupied artists from the 1960s onward. This selection of sculpture examines how artists have variously addressed these issues over the past five decades.

Alexander Calder's monumental stabile, Guillotine for Eight (1963), expresses an industrial aesthetic: large sheets of metal, visibly bolted together, structure the work's dynamic form, which appears to metamorphose as the viewer circles it. In the tradition of the Minimalist movement, Carl Andre and Richard Serra have also made use of commercial materials-brass, Cor-ten steel-to accentuate the physical properties of their works. In progressing through one of the tilted, undulating passageways in Serra's colossal Snake (1997), the viewer encounters the dizzying sensation of space and steel in motion. Meanwhile, Richard Long's sculptures of indigenous elements, such as the slate stones of Bilbao Circle (2000), poetically evoke nature, a sentiment that is echoed in the materials used by Arte Povera artist Mario Merz. The artist employs a combination of twigs, glass, and rubber to define the igloo forms of Unreal City, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Nine (1989), a work that is both delicately beautiful and menacing.


Richard Long
Bilbao Circle, 2000
Delabole slate
Diameter: 1,300 cm
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa