Mark di Suvero
October 6, 2018 – August 20, 2019
220 11th Avenue
NEW YORK—Paula Cooper Gallery in collaboration with the Moinian Group and Alex Brotmann Art Advisory are proud to announce the installation of Mark di Suvero’s monumental steel sculpture Hugs at 220 11th Avenue, New York. Organized on the occasion of the gallery’s fiftieth anniversary, the installation is located down the street from its new primary space at 524 W 26th Street. The presentation honors di Suvero’s long history with the gallery, having first collaborated with Cooper at Park Place Gallery (1965-67) and later at the Paula Cooper Gallery—including the second exhibition in 1968, and most recently in a one-person show in 2018.
Throughout his sixty-year career, di Suvero has created vibrant and dynamic works, which fuse vitality and improvisation with complex construction. Standing over fifty feet high, the pyramidal structure Hugs, is composed of steel I-beams whose three legs intersect in a central, curved form. Its expansive scale allows viewers to engage physically with the work, inducing a kinesthetic response as one walks under and around to perceive it from shifting vantages. Democratic accessibility and viewer participation have long been driving principles in di Suvero’s artistic practice:
“When one is an artist, one wants to do art that is meaningful to a lot of people. Most art is shown in museums and galleries, which eliminates a whole population. By putting it out on the streets, you open it up to the world … there’s a great thing that happens when you have outdoor works where people are interacting and searching … I like to do interactive work. I really believe that the piece needs to be all the way around you. We see in about 210 degrees, but you feel what there is at the very edge of vision. With sculpture, you can get inside of it. It gives you a different kind of a feeling.”1
Born in 1933 in Shanghai, China, Mark di Suvero first came to public prominence in 1975 with a display of his work in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris—the first for any living artist—and a major retrospective that same year at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. This exhibition featured his large-scale sculpture in public sites throughout all five boroughs of the city. The artist has had acclaimed international exhibitions in Nice (1991), Venice (1995, on the occasion of the 46th Venice Biennale) and Paris (1997), among others. In 2011, eleven monumental works were installed on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Organized by Storm King Art Center, this marked the largest outdoor exhibition of work in New York City since the 1970s. That same year di Suvero received the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor given to artists. In May 2013, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented eight monumental sculptures in the city’s historic Crissy Field for a yearlong outdoor exhibition. In September 2016, two monumental works were installed on Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive through a partnership between the Chicago Park District and EXPO CHICAGO; they will remain on view through September 2019. One can also see a number of permanently installed di Suvero sculptures at the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. The artist currently lives and works in Petaluma, CA.
Mark di Suvero, interviewed by Brienne Walsh: “Orgasmic Space: Q+A With Mark di Suvero,” Art in America, July 1, 2011. ↩