Stacks Artist: Richard Serra (American, born 1938, B.F.A. 1962, M.F.A. 1964, D.F.A. (Hon.) 2009)


Modern and Contemporary Art

On view, Lower Lobby, Sculpture Courtyard

Stacks was originally created as a site-specific sculpture for the ground floor of the Old Yale Art Gallery, a 1928 building designed by Egerton Swartwout. The sculpture references the art library stacks that were housed in the building when Richard Serra studied at Yale in the 1960s. Its two rectangular steel blocks stand at three degrees from the vertical and are placed parallel to one another sixty feet apart. This sculpture once commanded the neo-Gothic building's large main hall. In anticipation of the Swartwout building's renovation, Serra re-sited Stacks in the sunken courtyard of the Kahn building in 2006. Serra's site-specific sculptures are predominantly known for the phenomenological experience their massive forms create, and Stacks invites the visitor to experience a field of space bound by steel and gravity.


Rolled steel


93 × 96 × 485 1/2 in. (236.2 × 243.8 × 1233.2 cm)
each: 93 × 93 × 10 in. (236.2 × 236.2 × 25.4 cm)
each: 30000 lb.

Credit Line

Katharine Ordway Fund

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • Stephen V. Kobasa, "Moving Sculpture," New Haven Advocate (March 15, 2007), 32
  • Melissa Doerken, "Sinking Stacks," Dimensions 2, no. 2 (May 2007), 6–10, ill
  • Richard Serra, "Serra at Yale," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2003), 26–39, ill
  • Elisabeth Hodermarsky, "Katharine Ordway, Guardian of Nature and of Art," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2002), 88, fig. 9
  • Daniel Barbeiro, "Stacks," Sites (September–October 1990),
  • "Gallery Commissions Contemporary Sculpture," Yale Weekly Bulletin and Calendar (July 31, 1989), 1, 3, ill
  • Grace Glueck, "A New Site, A New Serra Work, A New Dispute," New York Times (June 15, 1989), C15, C22
  • "Another "Tilted Arc"?," New Haven Register (August 6, 1989), D1, D5
  • Walter B. Cahn, "Displaced Greats," Yale Daily News (September 20, 1989), 2
  • Heather Zorn, "Serra Sculpture Divides Yale Art Community," Yale Herald (September 29, 1989),
  • Colin T. Eisler, "The Ultimate Folly," New York Times (July 2, 1989), H3, H17
  • "'Stacks' of Complaints," Nation (October 1989), 53–55
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