San Francisco native Richard Serra lives and works in New York City and Nova Scotia. One of the foremost artists of his time, Serra has redefined the idea of sculpture since the 1960s, making the experience of place, time, and movement essential to his work. For Serra, the art is not as much about the objects themselves as it is about the individual experience of the viewer in relation to the whole context, measured and defined by his massive interventions.
Installed in the campus east plaza in March 2005, Ballast consists of two plates of weatherproof Cor-Ten steel cutting into the surrounding plaza, each measuring 49'2" by 14'9" and weighing 70 tons. The steel plates are located at equal distances from the ends of the space and from each other, dividing the plaza lengthwise into three equal intervals. Each tilts 18" sideways, in opposite directions, exerting an almost gravitational force. The scale, weight, placement, and angle of the steel plates define the whole plaza, and their relationship to the buildings and to each other changes continuously as one moves through the space.