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Major outdoor exhibition of Mark di Suvero's sculptures near Golden Gate Bridge
Mark di Suvero, Are Years What? (for Marianne Moore), 1967; painted steel; 40 x 40 x 30 feet; installation view of Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field, May 22, 2013–May 26, 2014; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund and Gift of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, by exchange, 1999; © Mark di Suvero; photo: Matthew Millman.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- From May 22, 2013, to May 26, 2014, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy presents a major outdoor exhibition of sculptor Mark di Suvero’s works near the Golden Gate Bridge: eight large-scale steel sculptures installed at historic Crissy Field, a former airfield and military base that is now one of the most-visited national park sites within the Golden Gate National Parks. Curated by SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra, Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field surveys five decades of the artist’s work, including a recent sculpture that has never before been on public view. The temporary exhibition is the largest display of di Suvero’s work ever shown on the West Coast, and is free for all visitors, extending the programs celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary.

Coinciding with di Suvero’s 80th birthday, the exhibition holds particular significance for the artist, who immigrated to San Francisco from Shanghai at the age of seven. His passage beneath the Golden Gate Bridge—which opened a few years before his arrival—proved to be a lasting inspiration, as the scale and color of the structure have influenced di Suvero throughout his life. Di Suvero notes, “It was like a rainbow, a bridge coming to the New World starting a new life. The woman who chose the color of the bridge, Malo Lowell, taught me how to work wood as a teenager and from there, all was freedom.”

Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field kicks off the extensive slate of off-site exhibitions and programming that SFMOMA will offer during the museum’s expansion project. The exhibition opens just prior to the temporary closure of the building for construction from June 3, 2013, through early 2016.

“We could not be more thrilled to embark on the museum’s new phase by celebrating one of the greatest artists to come from San Francisco, in a setting beside an iconic and beloved Bay Area landmark,” notes Benezra. “We are incredibly excited about this unique collaboration between SFMOMA and the NPS and Parks Conservancy to present these extraordinary works of art to the widest audience possible, against such a fitting, historic, and striking backdrop.”

Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field continues the NPS and Parks Conservancy’s ongoing commitment and deep relationship with the city that is home to the Golden Gate National Parks. “Similar to the recent di Suvero presentation at Governors Island, this exhibition provides an opportunity to further explore how art can create a new understanding and appreciation for a historic landmark like Crissy Field,” said Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent Frank Dean. “The fact that di Suvero is a sculptor with local roots and influences adds another dimension to the story,” he noted.

Greg Moore, President and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, added, “We are grateful to partner with a world-class museum that is bringing the work of an internationally renowned artist to an extraordinary national park. We all take inspiration from the Golden Gate Bridge and the beauty of the park lands surrounding this beloved landmark; di Suvero’s work joins us in that uplifting emotion.”

Raised in the Bay Area, di Suvero is an internationally acclaimed artist whose unique bold physical style has made him one of the most influential sculptors of our time. His large-scale works can convey powerful emotion, while also revealing the artist’s masterful sense of form, composition, and movement. Using such industrial materials as salvaged steel and steel I-beams, he creates dramatic compositions that actively engage viewers and the surrounding landscape. These sculptures cannot be understood from any single vantage point, and their dynamic asymmetry demands a comprehensive viewing in three dimensions. Each shift in position offers a new perspective on the works’ intersecting sculptural lines. Through such transitions, di Suvero’s compositions frame their spatial environment, revealing new facets of even the most familiar terrain.

Despite the scale of these sculptures, they imbue a sense of peace, beauty, and order also found in their natural surroundings. Measuring up to 50 feet high and 40 feet wide, di Suvero’s works especially resonate at Crissy Field, with its immediate views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This installation of his work is both a homecoming for di Suvero and an opportunity to reconsider the physical space of this iconic site. Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field activates the outdoor space in a new and engaging way while drawing connections to the area’s rich history and distinctive waterfront presence. Made predominantly of industrial steel I-beams, the sculptures serve as a reminder of the impact of steel production on industry, technology, and the military, which greatly influenced the landscape of Crissy Field as a former airfield and military base. Abstract in nature, the works offer viewers an opportunity to draw more subtle connections to the surrounding environment, as with Dreamcatcher (2005–12), which features a massive bent steel element that moves in the wind, pivoting atop a four-legged base capped by interlocking circular forms. The sculpture’s lines recall those of navigational tools, while its responsiveness to the weather brings to mind sailing or flight.

Most sculptures featured in the exhibition have been lent by the artist, including Magma (2008), which is on public view for the first time. Other works include key local and national loans, including one from the private collection of Doris and Donald Fisher and others from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York.

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May 22, 2013

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