Richard Serra worked in steel mills in the Bay Area to pay his way through college. He spent two years traveling in Europe and northern Africa before settling in New York City, where he became friends with Sol LeWitt, Robert Smithson, and Donald Judd. Serra challenged traditional ideas of sculpture by using industrial materials such as fiberglass and rubber. His materials became more confrontational as he disrupted the “pure” gallery space. Serra states that his experience in the mills inspired him to use industrial metals in a new way for sculpture. For example, he threw molten lead against gallery walls for his famous “splash pieces.” Serra has not backed away from these ideas, and his latest work continues to be large and aggressive.