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detail of Mark di Suvero's sculpture

Orion at UMMA

November's I Spy revealed

by Sally Bjork

From the December, 2010 issue

"That's the sculpture in front of the U-M Art Museum!" exclaims Judy Steeh, adding that her husband urged her "to put 'sculpture' in quotes." Judy Sorensen apologizes to the artist for identifying November's feature as "that rather unattractive red/orange thing." While Judi Taylor points out that Orion by Mark di Suvero is on loan to the UMMA from the artist and Hill Gallery in Birmingham, Thomas Bletcher jests that it "was loaned to UMMA after the sculptor's wife told him to get that thing outta my yard!"

Di Suvero's massive sculptures have been said to "connect earth and sky, space and time." Orion was created in 2006 and was on display in Chicago's Millennium Park before being installed here in 2008. While opinions differ as to likability, no one can deny Orion's striking effect. Standing below it "offers an unusual perspective," comments Louisa Griffes, "outlining [the sky] with brightly colored geometric shapes." And U-M astronomy prof Sally Oey points out how well di Suvero's design reflects its namesake: "The X arrangement of the principal beams (which manage to look like an X from almost any angle) evoke the four bright corner stars" of the constellation, while the belt and nebula are evident in the midsection. Oey used the sculpture to illustrate Orion in class and says her "students had no trouble identifying the many ways in which this piece evokes the constellation and mythical giant of Greek mythology."

Forty people correctly identified Orion. Oey won our random drawing and is taking her $25 gift certificate to Ayse's Cafe.

To enter this month's contest, use the clue and photo on the "Back Page" of the December Observer to find the spot shown, then follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

    (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2010.]


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