Shelter Serra is an artist born in Bolinas, California, in 1972, nephew of post minimalist artist Richard Serra. Shelter Serra studied art at the University of California and then earned his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
His eccentric and nonconformist style gained attention in the New York art scene in 2009, when he started to transform objects into multimedia works that investigate the cultural status symbol. Although made in a wide range of materials and media, Shelter Serra's work is based on only two core concepts: that art should be accessible to everyone and that art should reflect the desires and concerns of everyday people in everyday life.
With his work, Serra tries to question our system of values, particularly concentrating on the concept of luxury and high-end society. He is known for his thought-provoking recreation of iconic objects that symbolize a cultural status, such as the Hermes Birkin bag or the Rolex, one of his most famous subjects, as seen here.
Serra's artwork is built on questions rather than based on ideas. By representing this worldwide recognizable object in a neutralized and homogenous form, the artist urges the spectators to rethink, and question their values, to discover the absence in an object that we value, and to reflect on the deeper cultural meaning of things and their social, economical or environmental aspects. By “emptying” the object of any sort of monetary value, he distills each object down to its sign/symbolic presence.