Press Office Event


The Artist's First Award since President Obama's National Medal of Arts

Released: September 30, 2011 ·

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, the Modern Art Council of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will host the 2011 Bay Area Treasure Award Dinner, honoring esteemed artist Mark di Suvero. Organized by the Modern Art Council, SFMOMA’s premier fund-raising auxiliary, this annual lifetime achievement award recognizes Bay Area artists who have made significant contributions to the history of contemporary art. Di Suvero is the 12th honoree; previous award recipients include painters Robert Bechtle, Manuel Neri, Nathan Oliveria, Wayne Thiebaud, and William T. Wiley; sculptor Richard Serra; sound artist Bill Fontana; industrial designer Sara Little Turnbull; architect Lawrence Halprin; and photographers Ruth Bernhard and Larry Sultan. In response to the popularity of the event, formerly a luncheon, this marks the first year the award will be celebrated with a dinner reception.

Mark di Suvero is an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose unique abstract expressionist style has made him one of the most influential and iconic sculptors of our time. Di Suvero uses a variety of industrial materials, such as steel and I-beams, to create dynamic works that are integrated into a variety of outdoor settings. In 1982 SFMOMA acquired di Suvero’s work Ferro (1978–82), in which the artist used steel to create a piece that is compelling in terms of its composition, form, and sense of movement. Ferro is currently on view in SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden.

“As much as this award confers a distinction upon the artist from our institution and from our auxiliary, this is certainly an occasion where the recipient confers a certain distinction upon us as well,” says Modern Art Council President Joni Binder Shwarts. “Mark di Suvero is a profoundly talented artist. The Bay Area Treasure Award Dinner will be not only highly educational and exciting, but we also hope that our guests will walk away feeling as if their lives gained a bit of perspective and depth.”

Born in China in 1933, di Suvero moved to San Francisco with his family when he was seven. He graduated with a degree in philosophy from University of California, Berkeley, in 1957. In 1960, early in his artistic career, di Suvero critically injured his back while working part-time for a construction company. However, while injured, he mastered a welding technique that he later utilized in his sculpting process. di Suvero was one of the co-founders of the Park Place Gallery, which opened in 1963 as a cooperative space where works of emerging artists were shown, and in 1977 he founded the Athena Foundation, helping artists achieve their creative goals. In 1981 he created the Socrates Sculpture Park, where he and a coalition of community members and artists transformed an abandoned landfill in Queens into an exhibition space and studio for artists, as well as a park for community residents. In June 2006 di Suvero received the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities for his contributions to American culture through his artwork, his commitment to helping other artists, and his creation of new venues for the visual arts.

In March 2011 di Suvero was honored by President Obama with the 2010 National Medal of the Arts; the president commended his work for its ability to portray both social and political vision. His works have been showcased at SFMOMA; the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden; The Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kröller-Müller Museum; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. di Suvero continues to create new works at his studios in California and New York.

Through September 25, 2011, di Suvero’s work is featured in an exhibition titled Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center which comprises 12 sculptures across the 172-acre expanse of the island, a former military base that is now a vibrant public space. This exhibition is the largest outdoor presentation of the artist’s sculpture to be shown in New York City since the 1970s and is the centerpiece of the 2011 season at Governors Island.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011 • Doors open at 7 p.m.


The St. Regis San Francisco
125 Third Street, San Francisco


$7,500 Grand Benefactor Table (seats 10)
$5,000 Benefactor Table (seats 10)
$750 Individual Grand Benefactor Ticket
$500 Grand Benefactor Ticket
$350 Patron Ticket   


Event Chair: Alka Agrawal
Modern Art Council President: Joni Binder Shwarts


For tickets or more information call the Modern Art Council at 415.357.4125 or visit sfmoma.org.


Bay Area Treasure is made possible by generous support from Wells Fargo.
Media partners: Red Carpet Bay Area and Vivanista

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
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