Marco Polo “Mark” di Suvero (born September 18, 1933) is an abstract expressionist sculptor and 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient. He was born in China, but his family moved to the United States at the beginning of World War II. He went to San Francisco City College and the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied art and learned sculpture making after leaving his philosophy major behind. He eventually graduated from UC Berkley which a degree in philosophy, but concentrated on sculpture.
After graduating from college, di Suvero moved to New York City in 1957 to pursue a sculpting art career. He worked part-time in construction and began to incorporate wood and metal from demolition sites into his work. Shortly before his first solo exhibition at Green Gallery, di Suvero was involved in a near-fatal elevator accident on March 26, 1960, while working at a construction site. He suffered spinal injuries and doctors feared he would not walk again. It was during this time that he learned to use an arc welder, which had become very important in his work. It took 4 years, but he was able to walk without assistance and begin his work again in ernest.
He left the United States during the Vietnam war but returned and established studios in California and New York City. In 1986, he established the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. The park still functions today as a place for artists to bring large format sculpture to the public. It was put on an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite and the four acre site is the largest outdoor space in New York City dedicated to exhibiting sculpture.
For more information on the Sculpture Park, visit Socrates Sculpture Park dot org.