Sculpture Community -

Sculpture Community - (
-   Sculpture focus topics (
-   -   Can't miss this art (

Merlion 06-23-2007 06:05 PM

Can't miss this art
The story of the installation of a huge steel sculpture, with the artist heavily involved in the process.

Can't miss this art

A 171/2-ton sculpture is installed on the Parkway

June 23, 2007, ...... Sculptor Mark di Suvero, apprehensive, 30 feet in the air, swung the forklift around and then slowly down; as he did, a massive crane lifted three tons of red-orange steel and gently, guided by five straining workers on the ground, moved it slowly into place. ....

Di Suvero's friend of 50 years, collector and humanitarian activist David N. Pincus, 81, was thrilled too, as he looked on. ...

Pincus is the man responsible for bringing Iroquois to Philadelphia. ...

Pincus .... last year acquired Iroquois for the Fairmount Park Art Association, which will own and maintain the work. (It is not known what Pincus paid for it; the piece was appraised for $1.3 million in 2004.)

"This is not an Eakins," di Suvero said, smiling. "It will not be sold. It's staying."

It is also by far the largest public sculpture installed here in recent years - it tops out at 40 feet and weighs 171/2 tons - and among the most prominently placed abstract works in the city. .....

Di Suvero, who lives in New York, is a card-carrying crane operator. He cuts his own steel - an oddly delicate process that takes that "special kind of time." He speaks the language of both union members and museumgoers. And even though this is the fourth time he has installed Iroquois, created in 1983, he was completely attentive to every detail and bit of engineering. ....

"The beauty of this is that he's doing this thing himself," Pincus said, watching di Suvero pick up a welding tool and mask, and prepare to fuse Iroquois to footers set in the green ground on the Parkway. "He's not telling anyone else to do it." ....

Cantab 06-29-2007 09:32 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Reminds me a bit of Antony Caro, sixties style. But perhaps without his incredible sense of spatial relationships

GlennT 06-29-2007 11:17 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
There is a piece similar to this outside of the Legionof Honor art museum in San Francisco. It is extremely unappropriate for the site, in which every other element is in a classical or beauxs-arts style. The piece sits as the centerpiece of an outdoor prommenade symetrical with the building's central axis. There is gorgeous overlooks of natural scenic beuaty everywhere, and then this attention-getting bright orange-red piece made of steel beams, which visually harmonizes with absolutely nothing within five miles of it.

And then there is the aesthetic of steel beams, welded into pretzel shapes, but I don't want to offend anyone...

evaldart 06-29-2007 11:31 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Visual harmony need not be the goal...maybe the art should provide an experience seperate from the outdoor environment, disagree with it completely, give a viewer another kind of experience of the space. Diagonally situated steel beams, especially huge ones, momentarily remind the brain of danger, initiate a burst of adrenaline, might be just what the passerby needs (sometimes the Starbucks just aint enough).

ironman 06-29-2007 11:40 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Hi, The appropriateness to the site is in the juxtaposition of those geometric bright orange steel beams positioned opposite the classical beaux art style buildings.
I'm not a big fan of Di Suvero's work but if you want to see a lot of it go to Storm King art center (500 acres) in upstate NY. Just a few miles off Rte 17, it's easy to get to.
Have a great day,

GlennT 06-29-2007 11:25 PM

Re: Can't miss this art

Originally Posted by ironman
The appropriateness to the site is in the juxtaposition of those geometric bright orange steel beams positioned opposite the classical beaux art style buildings.

I guess, in much the same way as graffitti is appropriate to the site of any public building's wall...

I admit to not being up to speed with the " whatever jangles and mangles the past is a blast " aesthetic.

StevenW 06-30-2007 04:18 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
I'm just a middle aged white guy who likes his art thoughtful and clean. It doesn't have to do much of anything really to please me in some fashion or another, but I don't like it when it reminds me of seeing my mom cry.

GlennT 06-30-2007 12:08 PM

Re: Can't miss this art
This is actually a very important concept, so here are some further thoughts:

It is very easy to place a piece that does not harmonize with its surroundings. I think it is a disservice to then pass off the discord as appropriate because of the dissonance. Here are some examples of works that would be equally innappropriate to the site:

1. Precious Moments figurines enlarged to heroic size.
2. A Claus Odenburg- style toilet plunger.
3. A large crucifix.
4. A small crucifix.
5. A sculture of Paris Hilton.
6. A sculpture of Ironman in tourist garb.
7. A decommissioned anti-ballistic missle.
8. Any work of any style made out of scale to the site.
9. A leftover Soviet propoganda statue of Lenin or Stalin.
( oops, its San Francisco...that might work if the style fit...)
10. A comic book figure

What is more difficult is to create a work that harmonizes so that it elevates and energizes the senses because it is so perfect that it looks like it always belonged there as an organic extension of the site and the the architecture. That is what great artists can and should do. The work, whatever it is, ends up looking timeless because the intelligence and genius of the artist was at work, not thinking of glorifying his or her name, reputation, ego, and pocketbook, but selflessly considering what would harmonize with and strengthen the site to which they were given the privelage of placing a work of art.


evaldart 07-01-2007 12:13 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Glenn I think you just reeled off ten great ideas. Your art doppleganger is rising to the surface. You wont be able to contain him much longer. Very soon you'll be drinking milk and beer all the time, eating Whoppers, lifting wieghts and sculpting abstractions inspired by a dog-eared snapshot of Ironman posing in bermuda shorts.

Fact is, the site should be hijacked by your sculpture. Your art should transform the place, make it something undeniably new, not just timidly borrow a little attention out of some submissive respect that other visual presences might seem to demand only by virtue of their history in the vicinity. It is your job to displace something at that site...starve another visual entity by stealing its gazes. It will have to fall over to get someones attention. And some punk in the future will do the same to you.

I bet Michelangelo never merely wanted to be in "harmony" with his sites. He always owned them forcefully. He wanted everyone to see what the future of art would be...him.

GlennT 07-01-2007 02:36 PM

Re: Can't miss this art

While enjoying your good humor, I have to respond in earnest...

If an artist is going to "hijack" a site, as you suggest, and make their work the center of attention, then they should create something worthy of that attention that raises the visual culture to a higher level.

The work that I have critiqued looks like an armature waiting for a good sculture to go over it. It raises nothing but the artist's income, at the price of future respect for the artist. Given that site, I think he should have either challenged his own dogmatic approach to art, or had the courage to admit that he was not the right artist for the job.

Michelangelo's genius helped elevate the standards for all who came after him. And his work does in fact harmonize with the sites that they dominate by the quality, not the discord of his work. One can create a work that achieves both harmonization and visual dominance, and looks like it always belonged there. This occurs in nature all the time...the Grand Teton mountains are an example. In architecture, Taliesen East in Spring Green, Wisconsin comes to mind.

When you have a site that is worthy of a masterpiece, as is the case with the Legion of Honor site, creating a " polished turd " to borrow a phrase, just because it attracts attention by being jarring, to me is a short-sighted, disrespectful blowing of a great opportuity.


evaldart 07-01-2007 06:26 PM

Re: Can't miss this art
Well you cant have it both ways. Earnestness in rhetoric cannot contain the term "polished turd". And lord knows I've seen as many of those turds out there as anyone - half-assed, ill conceived, poorly executed, thoughtless art that doesn't even embellish (and embellishment only requires handy hands). As much figurative as abstract.

Mark di Suvero has impacted modern outdoor sculpture as much as anyone has. In my book Serra and Smith are better yet he's better than Calder, Caro and T smith. These guys don't make any turds.

We all must compromise our individual creative ideologies to keep the payments coming in but when I'm typing I can entertain my druthers. Whether you will admit it or not, you would make every site that contained your work "Glennworld" if you could. I have had a taste of Evaldartworld and I think I like it. And if that is not your secret desire then you have set the bar too low for yourself.

StevenW 07-02-2007 02:08 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
If it were Steveworld I'd put a ladder on the back so kids could slide down it. Now that would be cool! :)

I figured out what gave me the initial sad impression though because it reminded me of the Twin Towers wreckage and my Mom died a few months before that happened. Looking at it again and really studying it this time around it looks a bit more like a playground to me and that's not so much out of place anywhere. I'll always believe we can find good in anything if we look hard enough.

evaldart 07-02-2007 08:26 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Right Steven, part of the excitement of seeing other artists contributions or additions to a space is appoaching it with the openness of intellect that it gets a chance to succeed for you as it hopefully did for them.

It is a primal desire for living things to have as much control over their immediate environment as possible. Sculptors achieve this by their work reaching out, expanding their territory and potency.

The law of the jungle dictates that you will gain and lose territories throughout life until evidence of you presence has eventually faded. This might happen while you are alive or long after you are dead. You will feel greater fulfillment if you supect the latter will be the case.

There are those out there who want your world to be part of their you must simply find them, and do not disappoint.

Polished turds occur when the artist and the proprietors of an environment are unwilling to make a significant change with their additions and subtractions, the space morphing slowly and passively, unbeknownst to the passing utilizers.

ironman 07-02-2007 09:44 AM

Re: Can't miss this art
Hi, I think that they should bull doze into oblivion all of that beaux art style crap that glaringly contradicts and interferes with our ability to enjoy DiSuvero's I beams.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Every town and village should have a polished turd (wait a minute, they do now!) in their main square.
Actually Glenn, I think the Claus Oldenburg style toilet bowl plunger is a great idea. It could maybe be used when the big quake swallows up San Fran lock stock and barrel.
Viva la mediocrity!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a great day,

GlennT 07-02-2007 12:16 PM

Re: Can't miss this art
Ever feel like you woke up on the wrong planet?

" ...welcome to Cyborg world, where we ridicule your love for nature and the human form, throw the accomplishments of your miserable past out the window, and teach you the proper evolution of taste, found in the aesthetic of the steel beam and all of its glory..."

StevenW 07-02-2007 05:35 PM

Re: Can't miss this art
[quote=GlennT]Ever feel like you woke up on the wrong planet?


Every morning, I'm pretty sure there's an alternate time-line where I'm a King or Pharaoh or something and having palm leaves waved over my face and being hand fed grapes by eager and attentive beauties. Fact of the matter is, that guy in that alternate universe doesn't know what he's missing. :rolleyes:

Speaking of Michelangelo, the genitals and freudian interpretations of his work all show to some extent (a large extent in some cases) that his work struck great discord at the time in his selected environments as well, I.E. Church. Maybe this one doesn't show enough? I don't see anything being covered up as of yet.

The problem with trying to qualify art with a capitol "A" (for authenticity) is that we need objective parameters to first quantify it and the moment we try and do that, some different definition comes along to thwart our attempt. While I do agree with you that Art is better selfless and in harmony with its surroundings (at least for my general tastes), I can't rule out the idea that there's something to be found in sculptures like this.

Personally, I would rather see a nice big chunk of rock there in the shape of something either familiar or gently persuasive, but that's just me and I am biased and not really here anyway. I'm relaxing on my down filled king sized bed in my king sized bedroom in my king sized kingdom being pampered and adored.

Another grape please my sweetest and most favorite.. :)

sculptor 07-02-2007 09:04 PM

Re: Can't miss this art
choose a reality you like and stick with it for a moment or two

positioning of appropriate art can harmonize and steal gazes without the depravity of childish "in yer face" meaningless mediocre
red stuff

cellini's perseus
placed such that the gazes of the david and the hercules are focused on the medusa head----and-wouldn't you know it the david and hercules are both stone

really excellent staging in harmony for a really excellent work

If we can't try to do better than that, why even bother getting out of bed or attending to our art?

GlennT 07-02-2007 09:14 PM

Re: Can't miss this art

Just to be sure that we are on the same page here, my posts here have not referred to the one photographed and shown at the beginning of this thread, but rather a specific work of a similar type located in San Francisco on the central outdoor axis of the Legion of Honor art museum.
The museum by the way does not feature modern art like the De Young museum there,( recently built in an unusual modern style ) where the work that I have discussed would be much more appropriately sited than its current location. In fact, there it probably would harmonize with the environment and still stand out because of its bright color juxtaposed to the black steel of the building.

I am more opposed to the blatantly incorrect siting of the work than whether or not someone finds value in pondering the meaning of it all as they gaze at the steel beams.

Also, please note that I am addressing visual ( aesthetic ) discord, that is, the language of form, texture, color, and material as it has been applied. This is different than the philosophical or moral discord that Michelangelo's work may have provoked in his day.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:47 AM.

Sculpture Community,
International Sculpture Center,
vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Russ RuBert