The University of Michigan Museum of Art will welcome back a piece of public art this week after a yearlong hiatus.
Mark di Suvero’s “Orion” is a 53-foot high and 21,220-pound steel sculpture that was prominently featured in front of the museum on the University’s Central Campus, where it has stood since 2008. It arrived at the University to commemorate the opening of the Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family Wing of the UMMA. Before then, it was located in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
The sculpture was removed in April 2018 in preparation for stormwater system repairs on the museum’s grounds. The art piece was sent back to the artist’s studio in New York for a new coat of paint and some restoration.
Di Suvero’s “Orion” is one of two massive steel works located at the museum’s front entrance. A kinetic sculpture, titled “Shang,” allows visitors to swing on its suspended platform.
The di Suvero sculpture will be reinstalled on Tuesday, and and a free public event with di Survero and UMMA Director Christina Olsen will be held the following evening at the museum. The artist will also be receiving an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree May 4 at Spring Commencement.
Olsen praised di Suvero’s work in the public art scene and explained the value of bringing a prominent sculptor to speak on campus.
“Mark di Suvero is one of last living abstract expressionist artists, and arguably the most important 20th-century American sculptor of outdoor public art,” Olsen said in a press release. “An opportunity to hear from him is a rare occurrence, especially with one so steeped in the concerns of our present social, political and environmental debates.”