Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mark di Suvero at Governors Island

When I went to Governors Island last month, several large pieces of art around the grassy fields of the island caught my eye.  I searched about the island's art scene and learned these large sculptures were created by Mark di Suvero and the exhibit at the island was presented by Storm King Art Center.  This is already the second season of the exhibit.

From the Storm King website ..
Storm King Art Center announces a second season of the critically acclaimed exhibition Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center. The exhibition features two works not included last summer: a new sculpture, titled Dreamcatcher, which has never been on public view, and Chonk On (2002), which Mr. di Suvero has painted red especially for the exhibition. In addition, viewers will discover fresh perspectives on select works that Storm King and the artist are relocating on the 172-acre Island, a former military base that is now a vibrant public space.
The first sculpture I saw while walking towards Nolan Park was "Tamimiami",
playfully named after Tamiami Trail, in southern Florida.

Painted steel
36' 10" x 20' 3" x 28' 4" (11.2 x 6.2 x 8.6 m) 

All of the sculptures have an identifying tile indicating the title of the artwork, the year created, the materials used and where was it originally from.

Around Nolan Park are three sculptures. Near the area where we were during my niece's camp reunion was the sculpture "For Chris".

11' 3" x 16' x 10' 3" (3.4 x 4.9 x 3.1 m)

From the Storm King website:
This sculpture is a memorial to di Suvero’s longtime friend Christopher Wilmarth (1943-1987), a sculptor who worked primarily with glass. Like di Suvero, Wilmarth moved to New York from the San Francisco bay area and made work that responded intimately to New York’s industrial landscape. Di Suvero made For Chris after Wilmarth took his own life and incorporated into it a bell that visitors are invited to ring to pay tribute to Wilmarth.
Here's a pic taken from another angle showing the bell.  When we were there, kids would often go to the structure and tug on the rope to ring the bell.

Near this sculpture is one of my favorite ones in the series. Named "Fruitloops",  di Suvero created art that can connect on a personal level with all audiences.

16' 4" x 15' x 11' 7" (5 x 4.6 x 3.5 m)

I love the symmetry of the pattern, although if you view it from another angle, it comes out as a different piece altogether. See what I mean?

The other sculpture around Nolan Park is called Chonk On. As mentioned in the Storm King website, Mr. di Suvero has painted it red especially for the exhibition.  Hmm, looks like orange to me, though.

CHONK ON, 2000
19' 6" x 32' x 14' 3" (6 x 9.75 x 4.34 m)

Here's a picture taken from another angle, still looks orange to me. :)

In the vast grassy area of Parade Grounds are three more sculptures. The one nearest to the houses of Nolan Park is called Rust Angel.

Painted steel
8' 11" x 14' x 7' 8" (2.7 x 4.3 x 2.3 m)

Seems to me there's an angel wearing sneakers resting on the platform. Here's a pic from another angle, taken when the afternoon sun was high up the sky, the color seems different.

 Around the center of Parade Ground is this huge sculpture named Old Buddy.

40 x 60 x 48' (12.2 x 18.3 x 14.6 m)

From the Storm King website:
The titles of di Suvero’s works are often whimsical, rather than definitive. With them, di Suvero intends to give the viewer only one of many possible meanings for the work that they describe. As he has said, “I want the title, which is like the handle on a cup, to give the person another view as to what is inside the cup.” Di Suvero’s “old buddy” Rosko was a dog who protected him, making it possible for him to work in a studio located on a lonely industrial pier.
Here's a close up of the top part.

The next sculpture is near Colonel's Row and is named New Beginnings. Seems to me an apt name, looks like the artwork is poised for flight.

Steel and stainless steel
13' 5" x 11' 6" x 10' 3" (4.1 x 3.5 x 3.1 m)

Another sculpture is near the island's other chapel, the now-decommissioned St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Chapel, and is named Mahatma. The title references Mahatma Ghandi, a figure of great influence for di Suvero.

Mahatma has a 7,000-pound beam, bent into a “U” shape that rocks and turns on top of a sentinel-like I-beam, producing continually changing shadows and perspectives.

MAHATMA, 1978-1979
22 x 30 x 13' (6.7 x 9.1 x 4 m)

The above pics were the ones I took the first time I was in Governors Island last September 15.  Two weeks later, on the last Saturday of September, the last weekend the island was open to visitors for the 2012 season, I returned to the island on a cloudy and dark day to take pics of the rest of di Suvero's work displayed in Picnic Point, the northernmost part of the island.

On the map below, location of di Suvero's works are marked with a white star in a red square.

I took the tram to Picnic Point where four large sculptures are located.  The first one I came across was called She.

SHE, 1977-1978
Steel and tire swing
17 x 52 x 28' (5.2 x 15.8 x 8.5 m)

From the Storm King website:
Peace, freedom and the civic responsibility of the artist have long been concerns for di Suvero, who was imprisoned while protesting the Vietnam War. In sculptures like She, the design of which incorporates a hanging swing, di Suvero has worked to transform a viewer’s relationship with art, inviting participation and fostering a sense of inclusiveness. She also proposes new and intimate uses for the world’s discarded industrial products: a crane hook and the rusty steel barrel of a steamroller are incorporated into its design.
Here's a close-up of the steel barrel.

Near She is another imposing piece named Figulo. Completed only this year, the sculpture incorporates round sea buoys that the artist collected many years ago. Figolu is the name of a French fig cookie.

FIGOLU, 2005-2011
47' 1" x 55' x 23' (14.4 x 16.8 x 7 m)

A close-up of the buoys, is that a hidden Mickey? :)

Then there's Will, a forty-two-foot-high I-beam sculpture dating from 1994.

WILL, 1994
42' 8" x 36' x 29' 6" (13 x 11 x 9 m)

From the Storm King website:
Sculptures like Will lack a definitive center, and their full scope cannot be completely understood from any single vantage point. Di Suvero invites visitors to engage with and walk around his sculptures. He has spoken of his hope that this active involvement might inspire people to “think differently about their lives, about their cooperative relationship with the art, with their world, with their neighbors…That’s the dream.”
Near this sculpture is di Suvero's newest one which has never been on public view and is titled Dreamcatcher.  It is a roughly fifty-foot high steel composition with a bentsteel, mobile element near its top.

Here's a pic taken from another angle.  Hmm .. looks like a giant steel robot with arms outstretched.  What do you think?

Going over the Storm King website, i realized I missed taking a picture of one piece titled Po-um.  I believe I saw this around the Fort Jay area but never got near due to time constraints during my visits to the island.  I'll share instead the picture from the Storm King website.

PO-UM (LYRIC), 2003
Steel and stainless steel
16' x 16' 3" x 8' 5" (4.9 x 5 x 2.6 m)

Photo credit:

The website has a great video filmed by Dirk Van Dall featuring Mark di Suvero interviewed by Tom Eccles where di Suvero gave short descriptions of each of the art pieces.  He also talked about his lifelong fascination with steel, his early employment at the Fulton Fish Market, how kids inspired him to begin creating large-scale fun works, and how he makes the seemingly immobile move.  The short film also captured how the art pieces were transported down the Hudson from the Storm King campus an hour north of the city and followed di Suvero around the island as the pieces were installed.

I hope there will be a third season for Mark di Suvero at Governors Island.  That would be one thing to look forward to when the island opens in the next season.

For the rest of my pics, here's my album on Flickr - Mark di Suvero at Governors Island.

No comments:

Post a Comment