(Shanghai, China, 1933 - )
149 x 252 x 176 in. (378.5 x 640.1 x 447.0 cm)
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Purchased with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sisler McFawn Foundation, and the Museum Acquisition Fund
Since the early 1970s Mark di Suvero’s mammoth constructions of welded steel and industrial castoffs have become icons of Modern art. Using materials and production techniques familiar to tradesmen, mechanics, and factory workers, di Suvero strives to make “the kind of work that joins technology to people’s knowledge.” The familiar materials and recognizable forms present in his work form a bridge between art and our everyday lives. The construction of these immense kinetic works relies as much on his abilities as an engineer, metallurgist and weatherman as on his artistic talents. Early in his career, part time jobs in construction provided him with skills and gave him access to scrap wood and metal from demolition sites, shaping the trajectory of his work. The crane has become a signature tool for the artist, who refers to this as his “paintbrush.” Purchased in 1980, Eagle Wheel graced the sculpture garden beginning with the inauguration of the renovated 1899 building. This early and significant acquisition helped set the tone for the quality, scope and vision for the museum’s burgeoning collection. It is painted in the artist’s signature shade of intense industrial orange. At once oddly balanced and elegantly off-kilter, Eagle Wheel joins together disparate forms - sharp angles and graceful curves, heavy planks and protuberant spheres. Crowning the work, an immense suspended flywheel resurrected from an old sawmill in California swings from a turnbuckle and gives the work its poetic title, evoking visions of soaring wings.