Philly Dedicates New 17-ton Sculpture

Philly Dedicates New 17-ton Sculpture
Forty feet of shining, bright red metal roseabove a park an abstract, industrial sculpture that is the newest addition to Philadelphia's outdoor artscene.

The Iroquois, a 35,000-pound 17 1/2ton piece by sculptor Mark di Suvero went up in Fairmount Parklast week. About 150 people attended an outdoor dedication ceremony June 27,despite scorching 93-degree heat.

Humanitarian and collector David Pincus financed the sculpture as a gift to thecity. He met di Suvero almost 50 years ago, and they've been friends eversince. The dedication was held on his 80th birthday.

"For my eye, there's surely a quiet elegance in Iroquois, which I'm sure you'll all agree," Pincus said.

The abstract sculpture is composed of bright red paint on steel I-beams,reminiscent of di Suvero's use of industrial materials in his other works. Hedescribes his sculptures as "painting in three dimensions with the craneas my paintbrush."

Before coming to Philadelphia, the sculpture wason loan to the Frederik Meijer Gardensand Sculpture Parkin Grand Rapids, Mich. Now, it is located across from thePhiladelphia Museum of Art and the new statue of Rocky Balboa.

The work is adding to the city's collection of outdoor sculptures, which isamong the largest in the world and includes the famed Robert Indiana Love statue, the Washington Monumentin Eakins Oval, and the 45-foot-high Claes Oldenburg sculpture of a giantclothespin.

Mark A. Focht, executive director of the Fairmount Park Commission, describedthe collection as "what we like to think of as a museum withoutwalls."

"If we want to be the next great city, we have to look like one,"said Penny Balkin Bach, executive director of the Fairmount Park ArtAssociation.

The sculpture is the seventh that di Suvero has named after Native Americantribes or tribal nations. As a piece of abstract art, its connection to itsnamesake is not obvious.

"I've named pieces to honor poets, to honor people like MotherTeresa," di Suvero said. "The Iroquois was a great tribe that waspart of this region."