Mark di Suvero

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Mark di Suvero
Born Marco Polo di Suvero
(1933-09-18) September 18, 1933 (age 81)
Shanghai, China
Education University of California, Santa Barbara (attended)
University of California, Berkeley (B.A. 1957)
Known for Sculpture
Movement Abstract expressionism
Spouse(s) Maria Teresa Capparotta (div.)
Kate D. Levin (m. 1993)
Awards Heinz Award (2005)
National Medal of Arts (2010)
American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal (2013)
Website
spacetimecc.com

Marco Polo "Mark" di Suvero (born September 18, 1933) is an abstract expressionist sculptor and 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient.

Early life and education[edit]

Marco Polo di Suvero was born on September 18, 1933 in Shanghai, China, to Matilde Millo di Suvero and Vittorio di Suvero (later known as Victor E.).[1][2][3][4] di Suvero was one of four children, the eldest being Victor di Suvero.[1] His father was a naval attache for the Italian government and the family resided in Shanghai until his father was relocated to Tientsin shortly after the birth of the family's last son in 1936.[3] With the outbreak of World War II, di Suvero immigrated to San Francisco, California with his family in February 1941 aboard the S.S. President Cleveland.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

di Suvero attended San Francisco City College from 1953 to 1954 followed by the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1954 to 1955.[1] He began creating sculptures while at UC Santa Barbara after reflecting that he couldn't make an original contribution in his philosophy major.[1][3] Under the guidance of Robert Thomas, who allowed di Suvero to take his sculpting course, his work began to flourish.[1][3][6] He transferred to the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a B.A. in philosophy in 1957.[1][2][5][6]

Art career[edit]

After graduating from college, di Suvero moved to New York City in 1957 to pursue a career a sculpting art career.[1][2][3] He worked part-time in construction and began to incorporate wood and metal from demolition sites into his work.[2][6] Shortly before his first solo exhibition at Green Gallery, di Suvero was involved in a near-fatal elevator accident on March 26, 1960, while working at a construction site.[1][3][4][5] He suffered a broken back and severe spinal injures; doctors believed he wouldn't be able to walk again.[2][3][4] While in rehabilitation, he learned to work with an arc welder which became critical for later pieces.[2][3][5][6] He made a recovery in four years and could walk without assistance by 1965.[2][4] di Suvero was a founding member of the Park Place Gallery in 1963 with Forrest Myers, Leo Valledor, Peter Forakis, among others, until the Gallery's closure on July 31, 1967.[6][7][8]

di Suvero protested the Vietnam War, for which he was twice arrested, before he left the United States in 1971.[1][9] During his four-year self-exile, he exhibited his works in the Netherlands and Germany, taught at the Università Internazionale dell'Arte, and lived in Chalon-sur-Saône, France where he maintained one of his studios on a barge until 1989.[1][4][10] His French barge, Rêve de signes, has since been turned into La Vie des Formes, an atelier for emerging artists, which has been moored at Montceau-les-Mines since 2009.[1][11][12]

He later returned to the United States and opened a studio in Petaluma, California in 1975.[10] While the Petaluma studio is still active, di Suvero moved to New York City and opened a studio there.[9][10] He founded the Athena Foundation in 1977 and Socrates Sculpture Park in 1986, both of which function to assist artists.[1][6]

Artistic style[edit]

His early works were large outdoor pieces that incorporated wooden timbers from demolition buildings, tires, scrap metal and structural steel. This exploration has transformed over time into a focus on H-beams and heavy steel plates. Many of the pieces contain sections that are allowed to swing and rotate giving the overall forms a considerable degree of motion. He prides himself on his hands-on approach to the fabrication and installation of his work. Di Suvero pioneered the use of a crane as a sculptor's working tool.

Honors and awards[edit]

di Suvero was awarded the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2000, the first major award bestowed upon him.[13] In 2005 at the 11th Heinz Awards, di Suvero was the winner in the Arts and Humanities category which came with a $250,000 prize.[6][14]

2010 saw di Suvero awarded with a Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art's Archives of American Art Medal.[15] He is a 2010 National Medal of Arts winner, alongside Meryl Streep, James Taylor, Harper Lee, and Quincy Jones among others.[16] He was presented his award on March 2, 2011 by President Barack Obama.[17][18]

The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded a Gold Medal to di Suvero in 2013.[19]

Personal life[edit]

di Suvero currently lives in the Astoria, Queens neighborhood of New York City with his second wife, Kate D. Levin, and daughter.[1][9] Levin, a former City College of New York teacher, served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs from 2002 to 2013, and has worked under the Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg administrations.[20] di Suvero was previously married to architect Maria Teresa Capparotta, whom he met while living in Italy, but ultimately divorced.[1]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Mark di Suvero and di Suvero family papers, 1934-2005". http://www.aaa.si.edu. Archives of American Art. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mark di Suvero Luce Artist Biography". http://www.aaa.si.edu. Archives of American Art. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Monte, James K. (November 1975). Mark di Suvero. New York City, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Mark di Suvero, Art World's 'Last Heroic Figure'". The Ledger 71 (270) (Lakeland, Florida). July 16, 1978. pp. 37–38. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "NEW PARTNERSHIP LAUNCHES SFMOMA’S OFF-SITE PROGRAMMING WITH MAJOR OUTDOOR EXHIBITION OF MARK DI SUVERO’S SCULPTURES NEAR GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE". http://www.sfmoma.org. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. December 12, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Heinz Awards Mark di Suvero biography". http://www.heinzawards.net. Heinz Foundations. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ Kirwin, Liza. "Art and Space: Park Place and the beginning of the Paula Cooper Gallery". http://www.aaa.si.edu. Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York". http://blantonmuseum.org. Blanton Museum of Art. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Dawson, Jessica (September 2, 2014). "At 80, Sculptor Mark Di Suvero Is Still Mixing It Up in New York". The Wall Street Journal (New York City, New York). Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Bennett, Don (June 5, 2013). "Petaluma home to famous artist". The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California). Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  11. ^ Castro, Jan Garden (June 2005). "To Make Meanings Real: A Conversation with Mark di Suvero". Sculpture (International Sculpture Center) 24 (5). Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ Roux, Camille; Berry, Gilles (May 5, 2013). "Bateau logement pour artistes". Le Journal de Saône-et-Loire (in French) (Chalon-sur-Saône, France). Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  13. ^ "The International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award". http://www.sculpture.org. International Sculpture Center. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ Sisario, Ben, ed. (May 2, 2005). "Arts, Briefly: Heinz Awards". The New York Times (New York City, New York). Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Smithsonian Announces Archives of American Art Medal Recipients" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art. October 6, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Mark di Suvero Among 2010 National Medal of Arts Recipients Announced by the White House". http://artdaily.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ "President Obama to Award 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: White House Office of the Press Secretary. March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  18. ^ "President Obama Presents Arts, Humanities Awards To Meryl Streep, James Taylor". http://www.huffingtonpost.com. The Huffington Post. March 2, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  19. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (May 15, 2013). "E.L. Doctorow and Mark di Suvero Strike Gold at American Academy of Arts and Letters". The New York Times (New York City, New York). Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Kate D. Levin named first fellow of National Center for Arts Research at SMU". http://www.smu.edu. Southern Methodist University. February 11, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]