Old Buddy (For Rosko), 1993-95, painted steel
Old Buddy (For Rosko), 1993-95, painted steel.
In front of the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco’s Crissy Field, stands eight towering and magnificent outdoor sculptures from artist Mark di Suvero.  They are amazing and kick some aesthetic ass.  But of course, the art is creating controversy.  Neighbors say their views are being obstructed.


The sculptures with varying heights up to 50 feet high and 40 feet wide will be on display until May 26, 2014.  According to SFMOMA: “Presented by SFMOMA in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, eight monumentally scaled sculptures by Mark di Suvero rise at historic Crissy Field this May for a free yearlong exhibition.  Set against the backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, a structure that has inspired the artist throughout his career, di Suvero’s dynamic steel sculptures frame and reframe the surrounding landscape in surprising new ways.  The exhibition brings together works from across the country, dating from 1967 to 2012, celebrating five decades of work by the acclaimed artist.”

In my humble opinion, there is no bad view from the installation from up close to far away.  In a SFMOMA video produced to supplement the exhibit, di Suvero: “Next to the Golden Gate Bridge, all those pieces that I’ve done will be miniatures.  And I’m glad to be next to a giant like that and to be a miniature.”  In 1941, the artist immigrated to the United States from Shanghai, China and traveled underneath the same bridge his works proudly rise in front of.  He also survived an accident and was told he would never walk again.  Today at the young age of 79, Mark di Suvero proudly stands and is still creating art.

The first piece encountered on the beautiful sunny day was Figolu created from 2005-11 and made of painted steel with steel buoys.  From the outdoor placard: “Di Suvero often incorporates cast-off industrial objects in his work.  Here, three round sea buoys are suspended from a diagonal I-beam.  Their forms are echoed in the cluster of circular disks that joins the arrangement of diagonal beams that extend ouward, up, and back to varying degrees depending on the viewer’s position.  In the context of the work’s delicately balanced asymmetry, the buoys read as a nautical reference and as a guide, modeling the lightness and buoyancy to which even di Suvero’s most imposing sculptures aspire.”

Figolu, 2005-2011, painted steel with steel buoys, front view
Figolu, 2005-2011, painted steel with steel buoys, front view.
Figolu, side view.
Figolu, side view.
Figolu, view from underneath.
Figolu, view from underneath.
Figulu, from its backside.
Figulu, from its backside.

According to SFMOMA in regards to di Suvero’s Dreamcatcher sculpture (image below): “…The tension between the earthbound solidity of the I-beams in the lower half of the structure and the floating motion of the top suggests the balance of hard work and aspiration that enables dreams to take flight.”

Dreamcatcher, 2005-11, steel.
Dreamcatcher, 2005-11, steel.

Mark di Suvero: “It is the reformation of material which is what art is all about… we reform it to where it does that tuning fork to our knowledge of form within.”  Here’s some other pieces featured in the outdoor exhibit:

Mother Peace, 1969-70, painted steel.
Mother Peace, 1969-70, painted steel.
Will, 1994, steel.
Will, 1994, steel.
Huru, 1984-85, steel.
Huru, 1984-85, steel.

To the haters of Mark di Suvero’s art and presence, the sculptures inspire and expose the public to new ideas and experiences.  In fact, my husband and I drove in specifically to see the outdoor exhibit, paid two bridge tolls, went out to dinner locally, and patronized the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Park Store.  Without the exhibit, our dollars would have gone elsewhere.  Bottom line: the art will attract tourism, add to the unique cultural diversity of the Bay area, and spark creativity.  Instead of bitching about the art, the neighbors should embrace what it has to offer.  Imagine how Mark di Suvero felt and dreamed as an immigrant child traveling underneath Golden Gate Bridge for the first time.  Today to see his work realized is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity…

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One thought on “Dreamcatcher

  1. Thanks for posting this – I wish people would be open enough to go and engage with such sculptures and have an adventure with art – it just might fill that void that has them want to complain in the first place. I really like the way you have the Golden Gate as a sort of ladder in the background of your pics.

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