Born on November 2.
Studies English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1961. Works in steel mills to earn a living.
Begins studying fine arts at Yale University, graduating in 1964. Meets Philip Guston, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, and Frank Stella during these years.
Works with Josef Albers on the book The Interaction of Color.
Travels to Europe for two years. Spends the first year in Paris on a Yale traveling fellowship. Discovers the work of Brancusi. Almost every day for a month, Serra draws Brancusi’s works at the artist’s studio. Will later state, “That’s how I made the shift to sculpture.” Spends the second year in Florence on a Fulbright grant. Has his first solo show, at Galleria La Salita in Rome. Begins working with materials rarely used in sculpture, such as rubber and fiberglass. Returns to the United States, settling in New York, where he associates with artists such as Carl Andre, Walter De Maria, Eva Hesse, Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, and Bruce Nauman.
Begins the Splash series. Makes the 16-mm film Hand Catching Lead.
Makes One-Ton Prop (House of Cards) , which consists of four upright lead sheets leaning against one another. Begins to work in steel. Through the Art and Technology Program of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California, makes the Skullcracker series on the grounds of Kaiser Steel Corporation in Fontana, California. Starts a series of large, interior steel installations and begins working with structural engineers. Exhibits for the first time in the United States, at the Leo Castelli Warehouse in New York.