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Storm King Art Center today announced a major exhibition of large-scale works by iconic American sculptor Mark di Suvero, to open on Governors Island on May 27. Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center comprises roughly a dozen works that will be sited across the 172-acre expanse of the Island, a former military base that is now a vibrant public space.

The exhibition, which is curated by Storm King Director and Curator David Collens, is the largest outdoor presentation of di Suvero’s sculpture to be shown in New York City since the 1970s. With loans from public and private collections—including a number of sculptures from Storm King’s own celebrated installation of the artist’s work—as well as several new works that have never been on public view, it will be the centerpiece of the 2011 season at Governors Island. The exhibition remains on view through September 25, and is free to the public.

Storm King President John P. Stern notes, “For many, the name Storm King is indelibly connected with that of Mark di Suvero, one of the world’s greatest sculptors. Indeed, di Suvero’s work is an integral part of the history of Storm King, where the ‘di Suvero fields’ represent one of the largest installations of the artist’s sculptures. We are thrilled that this exhibition enables us to present Mark’s work to a broad international audience.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg says: “New York City will be an incredible place to see public art this summer. I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors to go to Governors Island to see Storm King’s exhibition featuring the work of one of the country’s most extraordinary artists— Mark di Suvero.”

Leslie Koch, President of The Trust for Governors Island, adds, “The Trust for Governors Island is honored to be the site of the first exhibition that Storm King has organized outside of its campus. Viewing these dynamic sculptures against the backdrop of the City’s skyline and harbor will be an incredible experience for all Island visitors.”

The works in the exhibition will be sited throughout Governors Island’s vibrant green spaces-including at Picnic Point, the Parade Ground, and along the Island’s northern shore-and on Governors Island National Monument, adjacent to Fort Jay. An additional work will be sited adjacent to the ferry terminal at Brooklyn Bridge Park, at Pier 6. The vistas of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, the Lower Manhattan skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge from these locations will create an experience of public art that is unique to New York City.

In addition to organizing the exhibition on Governors Island, Storm King will enhance its own presentation of di Suvero’s work with several sculptures that have never been exhibited at the Art Center, located in the Hudson Valley about an hour north of New York City. The public will thus be able to view the work of this seminal artist in two distinct but complementary settings-in a dynamic urban environment, and a pastoral one of mountains, sky, and fields-enhancing viewers’ understanding of the sculptures themselves and of their relationship to their surroundings.

Mark di Suvero’s work has helped to shape our notion of modern sculpture. His monumental, spatially dynamic compositions, created using such industrial materials as I-beams and salvaged steel, reveal a masterful sense of form, composition, and movement, while also conveying poignant emotion and, frequently, a sense of play.

With work ranging in date from 1977 to today, Mark di Suvero at Governors Island will reveal the depth and variety that the artist has achieved within his intentionally limited range of materials. Works on loan from Storm King will include: Mahatma, 1978-79, in which a 7,000-pound beam, bent into a “U” shape, rocks and turns on top of a sentinel-like I-beam, creating continually changing shadows and perspectives; and For Chris, 1991, created by di Suvero as a memorial to his friend the late artist Chris Wilmarth, an assemblage in which the open spaces created by cut shapes are as integral to the sculpture as the steel forms themselves, and which contains a bell that visitors can ring. Also on view will be Old Buddy (For Rosko), 1993-95, a composition of vertical and horizontal girders that is at once powerful and playful, named in memory of the artist’s dog.

Other works in the exhibition will include She, 1977-78, a fifty-two-foot wide, dynamic composition that includes three suspended elements-a wooden platform, a steam roller, and an abstract composition-on loan from a private collection; Will, a forty-two-foot-high I-beam sculpture dating from 1994, which will come to Governors Island from The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection; and Fruit Loops, 2003, a sixteen-foot-high work in which elements of bent steel loop and intersect in a fanciful, energetic composition, from The Collection of Agnes Gund.

New works will include Figalu, 2005-11, composed of painted I-beams and three large buoys suspended from a steel cable whose combination of forms creates a tension between dense and open spaces.

In addition to the outdoor works, the exhibition will also include an indoor, changing installation of photographs of Mr. di Suvero’s work at Storm King. The images will be complemented by videos of the artist installing his sculpture at Storm King.

Mark di Suvero was born in China in 1933 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work may be found in public and private collections across the globe and has been exhibited internationally. The first of several citywide exhibitions of his work was in New York City in 1975. This was followed by presentations in Paris, Nice, and Valence, France; Venice, Italy; and Stuttgart, Germany. He was the first living artist to be shown in the Jardin des Tuileries, in Paris. In 1957, di Suvero moved to New York City, where, other than during the first half of the 1970s, he has continued to make his home. His early wood sculptures were made with material from buildings being torn down in Lower Manhattan. After he was paralyzed in an accident while doing a construction job to make the rent, he began electric arc-welding while in a wheelchair and later learned to operate a crane. He continues to make his work at his studios in New York and California.

In addition to his role as a pivotal American artist, di Suvero is also a central figure in some of the institutions that have shaped the landscape of New York City’s art world. In the early 1960s, for example, he was a founding member of the Park Place Gallery, in Soho, the first contemporary-art gallery located in what would become a hub of the City’s art scene. Since 1981, he has maintained a studio in Long Island City, Queens, and in 1986, he led the transformation of an abandoned landfill and dumpsite next door into the award-winning Socrates Sculpture Park, which combines space for artists with a neighborhood park. Today Socrates Sculpture Park, with its stunning view across the East River to the iconic Manhattan skyline, is internationally renowned
for its programs serving artists and the public, including an extensive arts-education program.

Mark di Suvero is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2010 National Medal of Arts.

Widely celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks, Storm King has welcomed visitors from across the globe for fifty years. Its pristine 500-acre landscape provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures, created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time. These span the years from post-World War II to the present and include specially commissioned site-specific works, all set against the backdrop of Storm King and Schunnemunk Mountains. With its verdant fields, rolling hills, and woodlands, Storm King offers a unique and memorable experience with every visit, as changing light and weather conditions transform both the grounds and the sculpture.

In addition to Mark di Suvero, artists whose work is on permanent view include Alexander Calder, Andy Goldsworthy, Maya Lin, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Nam June Paik, Richard Serra, David Smith, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Zhang Huan. Storm King’s permanent display is complemented by special exhibitions, which may comprise large-scale sculptures sited in outdoor “galleries” defined by sky and landscape, or smaller works and supporting materials shown in Storm King’s museum building.

Image: View of South Fields,Storm King Art Center, Mark di Suvero sculptures Pyramidian, 1987/1998 Mon Pere, Mon Pere, 1973-75 Mother Peace, 1969-70

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