Yes! For Lady Day 1968-1969
Artist: Mark di Suvero (American, b. 1933, Shanghai, China)
Materials: railroad tank car, steel I-beams, cable
Provenance: Gift of Lewis Manilow
Mark diSuvero was born Marco Polo diSuvero to parents serving in the Italian diplomatic corps. They fled China upon the Japanese invasion and settled in San Francisco, California. After entering the University of California, Berkeley in 1953, he studied painting and sculpture but earned a degree in philosophy, graduating in 1956. He immediately travelled to New York City, New York where he gravitated toward a group of artists who were expanding the vocabulary of abstract sculpture that had been pioneered by the American sculptor David Smith.
In 1960, diSuvero was pinned beneath a freight elevator and severely injured in a construction accident. During his rehabilitation, he focused on learning arc welding and began to define his aesthetic of using large, cast-off construction materials to create oversized sculpture. Often these works have an interactive or moving component. DiSuvero personally fabricates each of his artworks.
Yes! For Lady Day was created over a period of two summers while diSuvero lived in a farmhouse on what was to become the GSU campus. Use of the house was loaned by Lewis Manilow, a prominent Chicago collector and philanthropist. The site became a gathering place for local sculptors: John Henry, Richard Hunt, John Chamberlain and others spent time there. Yes! For Lady Day was constructed of salvaged steel I-beams and a railroad tank car that was cut at a diagonal ellipse by the artist. DiSuvero’s distinctive approach has created an object of brutal beauty that dances in the prairie breeze. Its physical presence possesses all the hard-earned swagger of mid-20th Century U.S. culture, while its title directs us to a poignant note in American music history—the soulful and ultimately tragic blues singer Billie Holliday.