Mark di Suvero at Governors Island

Legendary industrial sculptor makes landfall on a NYC island

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There’s no experience quite like wandering among the massive outdoor installations at Storm King Art Center, recognized as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks for fifty years. Now, with a spectacular Mark di Suvero show, the institution’s newest and first off-site exhibit, installed on Governors Island through this fall, NYC visitors who can’t make the trek up the Hudson to Storm King can get a taste.

The largest outdoor show by the artist in New York City since the 1970s, we recently visited the free exhibit on the 172-acre Island to see the 11 pieces from 70s, as well as several sculptures created specifically for the occasion that have never been seen before. Constructed from industrial materials such as I-beams and salvaged steel, this event sees Suvero’s works closer to their skyscraper cousins. The significance of the NYC skyline in the background, absent the Twin Towers, is impossible to ignore with the jutting angles of the steel beams conjuring up the well-known images of the events of 9/11.

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All well-positioned in the landscape, visitors can walk around pieces, view them from every possible angle and even touch them. As per the artist’s request, mallets available on-site with allow viewers to hit the sculptures themselves, producing sounds that resonate through the landscape.

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Themes of manmade materials vs. nature resonate in di Suvero’s imposing Constructivist sculptures. The precarious yet perfect balance of limbs creates a harmony between earth and sky, as well as between the work and negative space. Process becomes significant (he uses heavy machinery to move and meld together different kinds of steel) as you take in his awe-inspiring works.

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When navigating the exhibition, the Storm King app comes in handy. Or, you can just rent a bike and explore freely, like we did—either way, it makes for an introspective experience. Check out the gallery for more photos from our trip.

All images by Karen Day, Nicholena Moon and Greg Stefano