Mark di Suvero

Mark di Suvero is one of the most important sculptors of his generation. As a student, he was deeply engaged in studying and writing poetry and was attuned to music, from Bach to jazz. Once he began to pursue sculpture, di Suvero found an outlet for his explorations in other fields that intrigued him, including architecture, mathematics, science, engineering, poetry, and languages.

Grounded in abstract expressionism, which emphasizes the direct expression of emotion through line and color, di Suvero was energized by the spaces of New York City, especially those being torn down for “urban renewal.” From the refuse, he pioneered a new form of sculpture in which wooden beams chained together in outward-leaning constructions declared the physical forces that held them in check. The works engage space in an unprecedented manner, and this focus on space has remained a central goal throughout di Suvero's career. In 1967 he began to build large-scale sculptures with a crane, using steel I-beams and other industrial materials. Learning to use a crane offered di Suvero a new mode of working, but it was one in which the process of composing the sculpture remained at the core of his artistic practice.

The heroic sculpture Clock Knot exemplifies the power of art to transform public locations. Walking around the work produces constantly changing views, and moving under it offers another experience of the sculpture and its space. The crossed I-beams and circular “knotted” center of Clock Knot suggest a giant clock face with a horizontal “hand” extending to the left. But as one moves around the sculpture, what had been read as a vertical beam shows itself to be one leg of an inverted V-form. Is it a clock or not/knot? Clock Knot is a work of poetry and power. As visitors pass through its space looking at the sky and feeling the exuberant lift of the sculpture, their imaginations will play with its visual and verbal suggestions. 

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Project History

The monumental sculpture Clock Knot by Mark di Suvero exemplifies the power of public art to transform the university’s landscape. Its installation coincided with the opening of the exhibition Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York at the Blanton Museum of Art from 28 September – 18 January 2009.

The sculpture is an early initiative of Landmarks. Located on the northeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway, Clock Knot stands 41 feet tall and was acquired by Landmarks for its permanent collection.

Linda Dalrymple Henderson, professor of Art History and guest curator of the Park Place exhibition, contributed the artist essay.

The installation is made possible with a generous contribution from the College of Fine Arts. Landmarks would like to thank the artist, Ivana Mestrovich, Lowell McKegney, Sean Paul Lorenz, Steve Henry, Paula Cooper Gallery, and the Cockrell School of Engineering for their support.

Press Release - 29 August 2008

Mark di Suvero Sculpture becomes New Campus Landmark

AUSTIN, TexasClock Knot, a monumental sculpture by renowned artist Mark di Suvero, will be dedicated on the northeast corner of Dean Keeton Street and Speedway on The University of Texas at Austin campus on Sept. 26.

The sculpture is part of Landmarks, the new public art program in the College of Fine Arts.

“The piece is a superb example of di Suvero’s work,” says Andrée Bober, founding director of Landmarks. “It will transform the landscape and become an icon for the university and for Austin.”

One of the most important American sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries, di Suvero emerged in the context of abstract expressionism in the 1950s. Clock Knot exemplifies the iconic form of di Suvero’s sculptures. Combined with works by Anthony Caro and Tony Smith on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Clock Knot will significantly expand important representations of modern and contemporary sculpture on the campus.

The di Suvero installation corresponds to the opening of the exhibition Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York at the Blanton Museum of Art. Park Place was a cooperative gallery founded by 10 artists, including di Suvero. It was the first downtown gallery with a large ground-floor space and became the prototype for subsequent galleries in SoHo and Chelsea. Early examples of di Suvero’s works will be included in the Blanton exhibition.

“We are extremely fortunate to have this remarkable collaboration between the Landmarks program and the Blanton Museum,” says Art & Art History Professor Linda Dalrymple Henderson, guest curator of the Park Place exhibition. “Not only does the presence of a large di Suvero sculpture on campus exemplify the Park Place goal of making art accessible to the public, its placement adjacent to the Cockrell School of Engineering is highly appropriate. Di Suvero is deeply engaged with science and technology and he conceives of his works as fields of physical forces as he constructs his sculptures using a crane.”

The sculpture is on long-term loan from the artist and Spacetime C.C., di Suvero’s studio in Long Island City, courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery. The university intends to purchase the piece for its public art collection.

The artist is scheduled to attend a public dedication of his sculpture on Sept. 26 at the site of the installation (Dean Keeton Street and Speedway) at 1:30 p.m., and to participate in a roundtable discussion with other Park Place artists at 3:30 p.m. in the Avaya Auditorium (Rm 2.302) of the ACES Building as part of the Blanton’s programming for the Park Place exhibition.

Landmarks brings the finest works of public art to the main campus of the University of Texas at Austin in order to support the university as a leading research institution, to enhance its aesthetic character and to provide a source of civic pride and welfare.

Download the press release.

Contact

Landmarks

The University of Texas at Austin
College of Fine Arts
2305 Trinity St., PAC 3.204
Austin, TX 78712
landmarks@austin.utexas.edu
512.495.4315

Press Office

Nick Nobel, External Affairs Coordinator
The University of Texas at Austin
College of Fine Arts
2305 Trinity St., PAC 3.204
Austin, TX 78712
nobel@utexas.edu
512.232.5904