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Mark di Suvero marks the Parkway


Mark di Suvero
Iroquois, painted steel, at Meijer Gardens, in Grand Rapids, Mich. The 40′ tall sculpture is being installed tomorrow in Philadelphia.

The giant crayon-red chunk-o-steel, Iroquois, by Mark di Suvero, is going up tomorrow on the Parkway, thanks to its acquisition by the Fairmount Park Art Association. The 40-foot high piece will then be dedicated Wednesday, June 27, 4 p.m., at Eakins Oval and Spring Garden Street–and the public is invited.

I do believe that di Suvero, the master of leveraged I-beams, will be fascinating, and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say when he addresses the FPAA’s annual meeting, following the dedication. The meeting and address, unlike the dedication, will require a $25 ticket (purchase here) for non-members.

I read a fabulous interview with di Suvero by Joan Simon in the November 2005 Art in America. It was riveting (pardon the pun–or don’t). He has led an amazing life with an unusual childhood and a non-standard education, and has since then had to overcome devastating physical limitations caused by an elevator accident that broke his neck when he was a young sculptor making it in New York. (The guy doesn’t play this information up if you compare what you know about this to what you know about Chuck Close, or maybe Close just has better pr skills).

His methodology–using big construction machinery as his hands–on one hand seems like a direct result of his disabilities. On the other hand, if you look at his early work and examine his character (tres macho), you’d have to conclude he was surely headed in this direction pre-disabilities.

Some of his subject matter, having to do with leverage and balance and how he has been forced to operate, take on profound meaning about power and what it means to stand in the face of gravity.

I don’t like the pictures I’ve seen so far of this piece, but I’m going to check it out in 3-D, because you can’t always trust a photograph.