"Orion"'s Return: Mark di Suvero comes to Ann Arbor with his iconic sculpture for a rededication at UMMA


Mark di Suvero's Orion at UMMA

Mark di Suvero's Orion photographed during an UMMA After Hours event.

The Diag. The Arb. Nickels Arcade. Kerrytown. Michigan Stadium. 

These are among the most popular sights of Ann Arbor.

But another equally famous landmark has been missing from Tree Town for the past year.

Mark di Suvero’s Orion -- the tall, orange-red sculpture outside the University of Michigan Museum of Art -- was removed in April 2018 when UMMA made upgrades to its grounds to deal with storm-water repairs. Orion was shipped back to di Suvero's studio in New York for conservation work, including a new coat of paint.

On April 23, di Suvero's 53-foot high, 21,220-pound steel sculpture will be reinstalled in front of UMMA, taking up its familiar spot on the front lawn, not far from Shang, the artist's other piece that welcomes visitors to the museum. The kinetic sculpture outside UMMA's entrance invites passersby to swing on its suspended platform.

Mark di Suvero's Shang at UMMA

Mark di Suvero and his Shang scupture, which welcomes visitors to UMMA.

This isn't the first time Orion has been away from UMMA. That's because it was initially exhibited at Chicago's Millennium Park before coming to the museum as a long-term loan in 2008 to help celebrate the opening of the Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family Wing. 

To celebrate the return of Orion, di Suvero is coming to town for a series of events:

  • April 23: Starting at 8 a.m., Orion will be reinstalled in front of the U-M Museum of Art.
  • April 24: “Making art public: A conversation with Mark di Suvero and Christina Olsen” will take place 5-6 pm at UMMA. The event is free and open to the public.
  • May 4: di Suvero will receive an honorary degree at Michigan Stadium during the spring commencement ceremony, which starts at 10 am.

Grab a Zingerman's sandwich and stroll by this A2 icon to welcome it home.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.

Visit umma.umich.edu for more info.