(b shanghai, china, 18 sept 1933). American sculptor of italian and french parentage. he spent his early childhood in the far east, before his family moved to san francisco, ca, in 1941. he entered san francisco city college in 1953 and attended the university of california at santa barbara from 1954 to 1955, completing his ba in philosophy at berkeley in 1956.
it was during these years that he first took seriously his interest in art, and studied sculpture primarily. moving to new york in 1957, he became aware of the work of the abstract expressionists and the associated sculpture of david smith. a work-related accident in 1960 left his legs and spine permanently impaired and confined him to a wheelchair for nearly two years. subsequently, the scale of his work shifted dramatically from smaller, ruggedly expressionistic pieces in cast bronze and unhewn wood to monumental constructions in steel. the resultant sculpture necessarily exceeded the limits of museum and gallery walls, as did his aspiration for its exhibition. his favourite materials became synonymous with those of the modern construction industry: i-beams, steel cables, wooden ties and scrap metal were used in di suvero’s work of the mid-1960s.