The Fairmount Park Art Association recently announced exciting plans to install a major work of art by sculptor Mark di Suvero along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. At their January meeting, the Fairmount Park Commission approved the placement of di Suvero’s Iroquois along the Parkway, and the work will be presented to the Art Commission in February. Installation and dedication of the work are anticipated for spring 2007. A private donor will generously support the purchase of the 40-foot-high painted steel Iroquois. The Art Association will own and maintain the work. Lighting, paving, and seating will be carried out in cooperation with the Park Commission.
Di Suvero’s Iroquois has a robust energy and physical presence, which appeals to a wide audience. Cities in the United States with permanent installations of his sculpture include Baltimore, Dallas, Grand Rapids, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, St. Louis, South Bend, New York, Toledo, and more. His work is a familiar part of many civic spaces, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The proposed location for Iroquois is at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, between the ball field and the Art Museum, at Eakins Oval and 24th Street (shown in the composite image at right). This site offers sufficient flat surface area to embrace the sculpture’s monumental scale and provides a logical transition from the pioneering sculpture of Auguste Rodin to the Museum’s forthcoming sculpture garden. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Parkway Council Foundation, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Fairmount Civic Association, The Philadelphian Owners’ Association, the Center City District, The Franklin Institute, the City’s Public Art Program, and Councilmen Clark and Greenlee all have endorsed the placement.
About the Artist
Mark Di Suvero is considered one of the foremost abstract sculptors living and working today. He was awarded the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities in 2005 and has also received the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center. In 1986 he founded Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City to support and exhibit works of contemporary outdoor sculpture by new and emerging artists.
Di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China in 1933 to Italian parents. He emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1941 and studied at San Francisco City College and the University of California, Berkeley.