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Mark di Suvero

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Mark di Suvero
20th - 21st Centuries Sculptor
American, b. 1933
Sculptor Mark di Suvero was born in 1933 in Shanghai, China, to Italian parents. The family immigrated to California in 1941. As a young man, di Suvero studied philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He moved to New York City in 1957 and began creating small assemblages out of plaster, wax, and wood. To support his artistic career he worked in construction. In 1960 he was severely injured in a freight elevator accident that left him confined to a wheelchair. He learned to weld and began to create small sculptures of wood and steel, which he exhibited in New York galleries.

As artistic influences, di Suvero acknowledges the Russian Constructivists who celebrated modernity by using industrial materials and abstract geometric shapes. Other influences include the urban environment of New York City, where he lives and works. As he told a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2011, “I was inspired by David Smith, Julio Gonzalez, Alberto Giacometti, but living in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, I was encouraged to think big.” ’Freed from his wheelchair through the use of forearm crutches, di Suvero began to work on an immense scale. He learned to cold-bend steel using a crane, and bought his first crane in 1967. Di Suvero then began constructing abstract geometric sculptures from steel I-beams on an unprecedented scale

Today di Suvero’s colossal works of art reside in over fifty cities worldwide. He has received many awards for his artist achievements, including the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, the Heinz Award for the Arts and Humanities, and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. Di Suvero was also the first living artist to be awarded the honor of exhibiting at Le Jardin des Tuileries in Paris in 1975.


Castro, Jan Garden. “To Make Meanings Real: A Conversation with Mark di Suvero.” Sculpture Magazine (International Sculpture Center) 24, no. 5 (June 2005).

Mante, Janes K. Mark di Suvero. New York City: Whitney Museum of Art, 1976.

Myers, Marc. “A Cultural Conversation: Mark di Suvero.” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2011.

Artist Objects

Origins 2006.51

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