Once could assert that art can sometimes be an outward expression of non-conformism, a physical rendering of a counterculture sensibility. Perhaps it is that in part – a reaction to a world that is nonsensical, to create cohesion out of chaos in the way which is most meaningful for you. Mark di Suvero, an American-based abstract expressionist sculptor known for creating colossal steel structures, has asserted himself at certain points in his life to be a Communist. This bohemian worldview was perhaps simply a result of his time spent in San Francisco and New York, the child of Italian immigrants, who studied philosophy in college. Additionally, Di Suvero is proud of the membership of his hired crane operators in unions and also of his multiple political arrests (during the Vietnam War and also the Republican National Convention held in 2004). While di Suvero has always expressed these social views on a public forum without reservation, they have softened over time as his second wife worked closely with Michael Bloomberg, as a cultural affairs commissioner for an extended period.
Mark di Suvero’s installations certainly could be interpreted as a representation of the working man, the every man, the laborer and capitalist man (employing the proletariat) that can be found in all of us. His work has evolved over time from primary usage of wooden timber derived from the demolition of buildings, scrap metal and sculptural steel over to a strong primary focus on steel plates and H-beams. Many of the pieces are, in part, in free-motion and can swing and rotate. The artist takes a very active role in the creation of his work, even now that he has surpassed 80 years of age. All of these elements fit nicely into his socialist worldview – one that he has expressed time and again through his steady stream of important works – marking his stamp on the world stage wherever he goes.
“I used to tell people I’m a Communist, because I believe that there are these things that we share. We share language. We share mathematics. The clothes that you wear, you probably didn’t sew on. The food that we eat, we did not grow. We depend on other people. We live in a communal world.”
-Mark di Suvero