Que Será, Serra: Artist Gives Commencement Address

Richard Serra, Doctor of Fine Arts, Williams College 2008

Richard Serra (Season 1) addressed the Williams class of 2008 during the celebration of the college’s 219th commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 1. His speech, “If Not Now, When?” reads more like an artist statement about process than your standard, “the children are our future,” commencement address. For Serra, his youthful audience provided a challenge, acknowledging, “When I look out at this graduating class, it is obvious to me that a generational gap exists between us which does not allow for an easy transfer of experience.” The artist strayed from offering his biography as inspiration, instead giving general observations on how to navigate the world today.

There were moments of inspiration Serra provided the graduates as they look out upon their uncertain futures, “Rather than being told which tools are available for which ends it is more useful to invent your own tools: As Audre Lorde has pointed out, ‘ … the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’ Rules are overrated. They need to be changed by every generation. That is your most important mandate: If it’s not broken, break it.”

Williams College bestowed Richard Serra with the honorary degree Doctor of Fine Arts.

Laurie Anderson (Season 1) delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of 2008 at Rhode Island School of Design. She also received an honorary degree.

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2008!