From October Books
The Destruction of Tilted Arc
Richard Serra's Tilted Arc, a 120-foot curved Cor-Ten steel structure in New York City's Federal Plaza, was destroyed in the spring of 1989 by the General Services Administration, the federal agency that had commissioned and installed what was Serra's most ambitious and probably most important public sculpture. These documents from the public hearing and the court proceedings are an essential primary source for scholars of art and law, providing a complete and moving record of censorship in the arts.The impassioned speeches by important artists, political figures, and by federal employees for and against the sculpture's removal also make fascinating reading. Among those testifying at the hearing were Marion Javits, reading a letter from her husband, the dying Senator Jacob Javits; Congressman Theodore Weiss; artists Claes Oldenburg and Frank Stella; filmmaker Emile de Antonio; and Museum of Modem Art director William Rubin. Richard Serra's introduction presents his own acerbic view of the government's case.