The rule of thirds, the golden section, is really a description of entropy, of the rise, bearing and fall of things within time. The egg is a Platonic sphere under the condition of gravity. Even Brancusi did not quite see it in his Newborn. This may be fallacious, but his essential forms do not always strike me as fundamental primes or ideas, but a type of highly refined caricature; a decadent, fin-de-siecle imagining of purity, but not the thing itself. I was surprised at MOMA looking at all the early masterpieces how much I kept thinking of Art Deco as opposed to early modernism. His sculptures are still highly decorative and representational.
It takes eons to 'wash the sin' from an object: every symbol has a half-life that is longer than the memory of mankind. For a symbol is an archetype, that is, the part of a primal evolutionary instinct that is apprehensible in our consciousness. Meaning ebbs and flows from symbols, as does their usefulness. But every good artist strives to discover and work within and strengthen the current idiom.
Serra has achieved both: his work operates in a contemporary feeling and he has created forms as a result of real, hard-won knowledge. I think Richard Serra has gone further than Brancusi did, although obviously Brancusi pointed the way for a simplification and clarification of what sculptural form actually is. But Serra conducts himself at all times more like an architect, he shows a sculptor must be the same if he is to avoid decorative redundancy. One is always aware, before his works, that he is conscious of gravity, and has attempted to master it. There is this feeling of grandeur and monumentality which arises from the feeling of risk and danger, primal forces being channelled: much the same feeling one has when experiencing a bridge or a vast built structure. Emotion is present in Serra in the same way: one walks through the torqued ellipses, one senses the danger and power of his enormous steel sheets pinned to the wall by massive steel poles.