Mark di Suvero (American, b.1933) is an Abstract Expressionist sculptor who welds scrap metal into monumental outdoor sculptural works. Born in Shanghai to Italian parents, di Suvero moved to San Francisco as a child. He studied Fine Art and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, before moving to New York City, where he was immersed in the Abstract Expressionism that dominated the art scene.
Following a serious injury while working in construction, di Suvero channeled all of his energy into sculpture. He welded large outdoor works from steel and found materials, such as tires and railroad ties. Later, he developed works based on industrial structures, such as welded or bolted l-beams and heavy gauge metal; he also incorporated motion into his pieces with swinging beams and rotating forms, allowing viewers and natural elements to interact with the sculpture.
Using industrial materials. and constructional techniques is his way of expressing his ideas about art. His work embraces the concept of art as part of society: consequently this concept and his constructions may be seen as a chain of reciprocally functional parts. His often daringly balanced constructions are not idealizations of technique; they exploit technique. By linking the construction's social function with physical dependency, he creates a synthesis of personal dependency and impersonal construction. Di Suvero's construc tions carry on from the ideas of the constructivists: The construc tivists made the world look new. I'm doing things they could do only in maquette form. Whereas in the twenties admiration of scien tific and technical progress made construction the symbol of development and progression, Di Suvero's work embodies the collaboration of art and industry. The constructivists of the twenties provided models, ideas and suggestions for a society desirous of change. Di Suvero does not offer theoretical models for collaboration, but puts them into practice. The execution of a construction is part of his concept. The Tower for Peace (1966) was the first construction to refer to collaboration and the more universal principles of strength and innovation. Building for peace was expressed in practical terms: the application of a theory to reality. His later industrial and municipal commissions also refer to the artist's social commitment. In his proposals and projects, the function and execution of the work of art in collaboration with the involved parties is thus part of the concept. His in terpretation of the construction as a collaboration-model is encountered in his drawings in the constantly recurring form of the tetrahedron. It is the unit, the module, with which he works: the smallest unit on which his constructions are based. The tetrahedron also has a symbolic function: the form in which the distribution of fulcra achieves optimum stability.
Di Suvero was a founding member of two artist-owned ventures, the Park Place Gallery in New York City, and ConStruct, which promoted exhibitions across the United States.
Today, his pieces are installed in public locations around the world. He currently lives in New York City, with studios in New York, California, and France.