Mark di Suvero: Aesop’s Fables (1990), Double Tetrahedron (2004), Beyond (2004)
Mark di Suvero’s three sculpture exhibition inaugurates the public art program overseen by Madison Square Park Conservancy. The works on view demonstrate the expressive range of di Suvero’s epic steel-beam constructions, from the classically vertical Double Tetrahedron, to the tethered shapes in conversation of Aesop’s Fables, to the organic form rising up from the earth in Beyond. Di Suvero typically works in architectural scale, creating sculpture from industrial materials like steel I-beams. Similarly, his tools — cranes, cherry pickers, lifts, welding implements — are typically used to build ships or trains. When he moved to New York in the late 1950s, Abstract Expressionism was an influential movement. Di Suvero took the gesture from that work and forged an independent vocabulary. By 1959, he was making sculpture with the castoffs from demolished buildings. Di Suvero is a political activist who protested against the Vietnam War and who left the country in 1971. He is outspoken in his affirmation of civil rights and social justice. With artists and community members, di Suvero founded Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City in 1986. The abandoned riverside landfill and dump site became an incubator training emerging artists how to realize and show monumental work outdoors.