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Best Museum Exhibition

Sculpture and Drawings by Richard Serra

OK, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts isn't technically a museum, but why split hairs? The Richard Serra show is not only the best museum exhibition of the year, it's also the best one we've seen at the Pulitzer since it opened in 2001. It includes two seldom-exhibited "Prop" pieces, as well as the massive "Joplin" (1971) and the quizzical "Cutting Device: Base Plate Measure" (1969). Their arrangement is poetic, with Tadao Ando's architectural design providing the contemplative atmosphere in which to fully appreciate Serra's examinations of mass, material, weight and space. Offsetting the sculptures are the paintstick drawings, tactile affairs imbued with a solemn energy. The indoor works perfectly prepare one for a reconsideration of "Joe," the permanent torqued-steel spiral installed in the courtyard. It's hard to imagine a more consummate marriage of art and architecture than what we find in this exhibition, on view -- for free -- through February 2004 at the Pulitzer (3716 Washington Avenue, St. Louis; hours are 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; call 314-754-1850 for information).
 
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