Mark di Suvero was born in China in 1933 to Italian parents. His father was a naval attaché and the family was transferred from Shanghai to California in 1941. Di Suvero attended the University of California first studying philosophy but became enamored with sculpture as he felt he could contribute more to art than to philosophy. While working part-time as a construction worker, he suffered a severe on-site elevator accident. While recovering, he learned how to work with an arc welder and his sculptures became ever larger. In 1963, di Suvero was one of the founding members of the Park Place Gallery in New York. In response to the Vietnam War, he crafted his 1966 sculpture Peace Tower in Los Angeles as an anti-war critique and in 1971 he left the United States for Europe as a voluntary protest against the war. He returned to the U.S. in 1974, and a major retrospective of his work was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art the following year. A tireless promoter of emerging artists, di Suvero founded the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Queens in 1986.
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