Art: Truth Amid Steel Elephants

Nearly eleven years ago, a 27-year-old sculptor named Mark di Suvero had his first show in New York. His burly constructions of steel pipe, chains and massive timbers had an exhilarating effect on younger New York artists; hosannas rose from critics. "Here," exclaimed Sidney Geist in Arts magazine, "was a body of work so ambitious and intelligent, so raw and clean, so noble and accessible, that it must permanently alter our standards of artistic effort."

Hyperbole? Perhaps, but for some it did just that: Di Suvero became an inspirational figure to a circle of...

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