More than 26 feet high and 42 feet wide, and weighing in at approximately three tons, Mark di Suvero’s Arikidea is certainly deserving of the description “monumental.” Yet this massive structure belies an ingeniously constructed delicacy. The gigantic steel beams have been masterfully balanced in such a way that a simple touch or a passing breeze will cause the structure to sway gently. The wooden swing suspended from its center playfully invites the viewer to further interact with the work, moving into and through its airy spaces. Beginning in the late 1950s, di Suvero drew on the gestural ideas of Abstract Expressionist painting, extending them into the three-dimensional realm of sculpture. His early cantilevered constructions of junkyard detritus (old tires, scrap metal, steel girders) later gave way to the massive, outdoor steel sculptures for which he is known today. The title of this piece evolved loosely from the word arachnid, Greek for “spider,” a creature di Suvero admired for its capacity to create structures in space.
© 1998 Walker Art Center