For KeplerMark di Suvero’s For Kepler acts as an unofficial greeter of incoming students to Miami University. This formidable structure and prominent contribution to the Miami University Art Museum Sculpture Park pulls from multiple art genres, such as Cubism which is alluded to in the lack of a single vantage point, Constructivism in its industrial, metallic appearance, and even Expressionism in its angularity, distortion of space and vibrant use of color (a pungent red that represents Miami’s school color, while also being a signature color used by Di Suvero in many of his steel designs).
The MUAM Sculpture Park Viewing Guide describes the motion captured in the design of For Kepler: “Suvero has instilled movement and energy into the solid mass of heavy steel I-beams with a burst of energy radiating from a central point”. This flexible design is reflective of the scientific ties this sculpture has to Johannes Kepler, 16th century mathematician, astronomer and astrologer known for his Laws of Planetary motion.These laws are known for having established that the planets revolve around the sun rather than vice versa, as well as that orbits occur in an elliptical shape. This association referenced in the name of the sculpture was particularly special considering in an article by the Journal Newspaper, it was noted that Di Suvero “never names his sculptures until they are finished, but he had been an admirer of Kepler for many years before finishing the abstract piece”. Di Suvero references Kepler’s innovative contributions to the field of science, his humble upbringing and his dedication to his occupation even in a time where his thoughts were not well received in his community. The attitude of perseverance is something that resonated with the artist, considering while attending the University of California Santa Barbara, he was kicked out of the sculpture program and later in his career, he was crushed in an elevator. It was after this accident that he switched from making wooden sculpture to welding, being that it was more feasible for him to do while recovering in a wheelchair.
For Kepler was gifted to the university by Thomas W. Smith, a graduate of Miami university who received his degree in political science in 1950. Smith also donated the recently installed sculpture, “Heart in Hand” by Ursula Von Rydingsvard. The For Kepler sculpture by Mark Di Suvero is one of the most iconic pieces of public art on Miami University’s campus, and regularly beckons campus visitors with its striking transecting aesthetic.
Miami University Art Museum Sculpture Park Viewing Guide
Jones, Richard O. “Of Science, Stars and the Arts: ‘For Kepler Sculpture Dedicated to Miami University.’” Journal News, 30 Sept. 1996.