The new SFMOMA is overwhelming in the best of ways. It’s hard to believe that one family, the Fisher’s, could have collected so much art. I guess a degree in economics from Stanford prior to founding the clothing retailer Gap doesn’t hurt, in that capacity. Now, thanks to them, the museum houses an enormous sculptural installation by Richard Serra, impressive partly because it could kill you.
The other day, riding the Sky Glide at the Boardwalk with my assistant Jacqueline, I had a similar feeling: earthquake strikes, we’re screwed. Serra’s sculptures evoke vertiginous feelings common to the urban experience. Humans adapt to these kinds of situations ripe with the potential for catastrophe by adjusting to the feelings and eventually ignoring them. Serra’s art brings this corporeal precariousness back into consciousness with his arching and leaning steel panels.