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Colossal Richard Serra sculpture leaving SFMOMA

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“Sequence” goes back to Stanford after multi-year loan

Photo courtesy of the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Apparently all good things really do come to an end, including those that are designed to imitate an infinite progression.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced this week that Sequence, the titanic sculpture by SF-born artist Richard Serra that’s been on free display to the public ever since the museum reopened in 2016, will soon depart.

According to an emailed statement from the museum, “Generously loaned by the Donald and Doris Fisher Family and installed as the first artwork in SFMOMA’s 2016 Snøhetta-designed expansion, Sequence will be reinstalled at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.”

The last day to visit Sequence in San Francisco is December 24.

Made of solid steel, Sequence is a 2006 piece measuring 13 feet high, 42 feet wide, and 67 feet long. The piece weighs an estimated 235 tons, bent into several overlapping S and figure-eight shapes.

Walking inside of its disorienting contours is, by design, a surreal odyssey. Stanford News quoted Serra saying of his work in 2011, “The ‘S’ is a passage that reverses itself right in the center of the piece, and you might have the concern that you’re walking back in the same direction you came from, but you’re not.”

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Before its trek to SFMOMA, Stanford characterized the move as a for-keeps transition, calling the museum “its permanent location.”

SFMOMA, however, now refers to the acquisition as a loan.

Starting in April, the free Howard Street gallery (the new lobby of SFMOMA) will display a video mural by French artist JR titled the Chronicles of San Francisco.