Richard Serra: Vertical and Horizontal Reversals

Text by Gordon Hughes

Richard Serra’s “Reversal” drawings employ two identical rectangular sheets of paper that are adjoined in a vertical or horizontal format, with the black and white areas reversing themselves top to bottom (or left to right). The area that is black on the top (or left) sheet is white on the bottom (or right) sheet, and the area that is white on the top (or left) sheet is black on the bottom (or right) sheet in a figure / ground reversal. 

Vertical and Horizontal Reversals, designed by McCall Associates in close collaboration with the artist and printed by Steidl, is the most extensive presentation of the “Reversal” drawings to be published. The book reproduces all thirty-three drawings shown in 2014 at David Zwirner in New York, in addition to documenting this series in its entirety. The book also includes new scholarship by art historian Gordon Hughes.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books | Steidl

Artists: Richard Serra

Contributors: Gordon Hughes

Designer: McCall Associates

Printer: Steidl, Göttingen, Germany

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 12 1/4 in (24.8 x 31.1 cm)

Pages: 88

Reproductions: 115 color

ISBN: 9781941701010

Retail: $65 | £40 | $510 HKD | €54

Status: Available

Richard Serra

Richard Serra’s first solo exhibitions were held at the Galleria La Salita, Rome, 1966, and, in the United States, at the Leo Castelli Warehouse, New York, in 1969. His first solo museum exhibition was held at The Pasadena Art Museum in 1970. Solo exhibitions of Serra’s sculptural work have been held at numerous public institutions worldwide, including Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany, 1978; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1984; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1986; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 1992; Serpentine Gallery, London, 1992; and Dia Center for the Arts, New York, 1997.

All Richard Serra books

Gordon Hughes

Gordon Hughes is a Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Rice University. He received his PhD from Princeton in 2004, after studying philosophy at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario. Originally trained as an artist, he holds a MFA in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of Resisting Abstraction: Robert Delaunay and Vision in the Face of Modernism (2014); co-editor with Philipp Blom of Nothing but the Clouds Unchanged: Artists in World War One (2014); and co-editor with Hal Foster of October Files: Richard Serra (2000). He has published on subjects ranging from Robert Delaunay’s early abstraction, Douglas Huebler’s photo-conceptualism, Jenny Holzer’s text-based artworks, Roland Barthes’s book Camera Lucida, Georges Braque’s still lifes, Robert Graves’s autobiography, and Fernand Le´ger’s cinema and painting. Hughes was a co-curator of the exhibition World War One: War of Images / Images of War at the Getty Research Institute and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. His current book project, begun while a scholar at the Getty Research Institute in 2013, is titled Seeing Red: Murder, Abstraction, Machines.