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Sept. 17 Art Minute: Mark di Suvero, Blubber

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Mark di Suvero (American, born 1933) Blubber. Painted steel and rubber, 1979-1980. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1984.76. Georgia and David K. Welles Sculpture Garden.
While George Rickey’s Triple N Gyratory III relies on the wind to interact with its moveable elements, Mark di Suvero’s Blubber relies on *you.* A split tractor tire suspended from the structure of nine painted steel I-beams creates the ultimate tire swing. Early in his career, di Suvero decided to make art that encouraged human interaction. His social consciousness has taken a number of forms, from holding exhibitions in economically depressed neighborhoods to designing urban playgrounds.

 

His years spent working in a California shipyard gave him an understanding of structural balances of force—thrust and counter-thrust—which he uses in his sculpture. Permanently injured in a construction site accident in 1960, di Suvero nevertheless has taken a very hands-on approach to constructing his monumental sculptures. He has called the crane his “paintbrush.”

This work is currently on view in the Georgia and David K. Welles Sculpture Garden at the Toledo Museum of Art.