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Paris Is Considering Bringing Back a Richard Serra Sculpture from Storage Once More


Paris, renowned for its rich artistic heritage, holds within its confines a monumental steel sculpture by the late American artist Richard Serra that has long been shrouded in controversy and obscurity. Titled Clara-Clara, this towering installation has recently resurfaced in the discourse of Parisian officials, sparking discussions about its potential return to public view.

A History of Creation and Installation

Commissioned for a 1983 retrospective at Paris’ Centre Pompidou, Clara-Clara comprises two colossal steel structures, each stretching 118 feet in length and standing 12 feet high. Weighing a staggering 216,000 pounds collectively, these imposing forms curve away from each other, creating a captivating walkway for viewers to traverse. Originally intended for indoor display, organizers deemed Clara-Clara too heavy for exhibition spaces, leading to its installation in the public Tuileries Garden.

Relocation and Discontent

Following the exhibition, the city of Paris acquired Clara-Clara in 1985, relocating it to Parc de Choisy in the thirteenth arrondissement. However, the sculpture’s tenure at the park was marred by vandalism and damage incurred from recreational use, much to Serra’s dismay. Consequently, city officials removed Clara-Clara in 1993, consigning it to storage and effectively removing it from public view.

Intermittent Resurfacing

Clara-Clara emerged from storage briefly in 2008 for display at the Monumenta contemporary art exhibition held at the Grand Palais. This resurgence reignited discussions about the sculpture’s fate, prompting speculation about its future among Parisian officials and art enthusiasts alike.

Current Status and Debate

As of March, Clara-Clara remains housed in the Fonds Municipaux d’Art Contemporain (FMAC), Paris’ art storage facility responsible for managing the city’s vast collection of over 23,000 works. The sculpture’s potential return to public view has become the subject of renewed debate, with municipal opposition member Aurélien Véron advocating for its reinstatement in a prominent location within the historic heart of Paris.

Looking Ahead: A Potential Renaissance

Amidst discussions surrounding Clara-Clara’s future, officials under deputy mayor Carine Rolland’s purview are reportedly considering three possible locations for the sculpture’s reinstallation. This deliberation hints at a potential renaissance for Serra’s monumental work, offering hope for its return to public appreciation and admiration in the streets of Paris.


As Paris grapples with the challenge of integrating Clara-Clara back into its urban landscape, the discourse surrounding the sculpture underscores the delicate balance between preserving artistic heritage and ensuring public engagement. As officials weigh the options for its reinstallation, the eventual fate of Clara-Clara remains a topic of keen interest for both the artistic community and the citizens of Paris.

Feature Image: Clara- Clara by Richard Serra | Courtesy: Art@Site

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