Spring / Summer Magazine 2019


BRIGHT AND SHINY, LEGS FIRMLY GROUNDED AND ARMS STRETCHED OUT TO THE SKY, the belted hunter returns to UMMA’s front lawn, and enters our permanent collection.

Initially exhibited at Chicago’s Millennium Park, Mark di Suvero’s Orion first arrived at UMMA as a long-term loan in 2008, helping to celebrate the Museum’s new Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family Wing. In April 2018, Orion was removed in preparation for storm water repairs on UMMA’s grounds. This was the perfect opportunity to send the 53-foot high 21,220 pounds of steel sculpture back to the artist’s studio in New York for some conservation and a fresh coat of vibrant red paint.

Meanwhile, a fundraising effort led by Sandy Robertson (BA ‘53) to acquire the sculpture for UMMA’s permanent collection began gathering steam. With generous support from Robertson and a small group of other passionate alumni and friends, Orion returns to UMMA as the museum’s newest and most visible acquisition.

Di Suvero’s monumental art is decidedly made for public spaces, and experience. His sculptures engage, directly, immediately, and with all. Di Suvero strongly believes that art in public spaces can help gather and unite communities, and that art is a “public right.”

In addition to countless national and international exhibitions and awards, di Suvero was honored with the National Medal of the Arts by President Obama, as one of the nation’s leading sculptors of Abstract Expressionism. The awarders noted “Mr. di Suvero’s exemplary sculptures depict a strong political and social vision, demonstrating the power of the arts to improve our world.”

The return of Orion to UMMA is more than serendipitous. It coincides with a year-long exploration by the University of Michigan’s of its own public art collection and the purpose and value of art on campuses. We’re excited that Orion could become part of the museum’s collection just as the university’s is turning its focus to this important topic.

In 2010, Peter Sparling’s 1 class dances in front of Orion, responding to its gesture, presence and inspiration. As Sparling explained: “The students had to explore: How does movement reflect an object and resonate with something of such a monumental scale? …. It’s also helping stretch their imaginations in terms of what can inspire them to make work.”
Peter Sparling is Thurnau Professor of Dance at the U-M. He was a member of the José Limón Dance Company and principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company

MARK DI SUVERO TALK AT UMMA                                                           

THE U-M CAMPUS IS FULL OF ICONS that evoke the Michigan spirit—from the Big House to Burton Memorial Tower. But none capture the vital importance of art on campus like Orion. The following alumni and friends recognize that great art is essential to creating a vibrant campus community and have contributed significantly to the purchase of Orion: Sandy Robertson; Bobby Kotick, in honor of Jeanne Robertson; Irving Stenn, Jr. and Judi Male; Ira and Nicki Harris, in honor of Jeanne Robertson; Trish Turner-McConnell and Thomas McConnell; and Mary Ann Keeler. For more information on how you can support UMMA’s acquisition efforts, contact Carrie Throm at



  • Contents
  • From the Director
  • The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene
  • Orion Comes Home
  • Director's Acquisition Committee Diversifies Collection
  • New at UMMA
  • Collection Ensemble
  • The Six Senses of Buddhism
  • Jason DeMarte: Garden of Artificial Delights
  • Opening: UMMA Cafe
  • UMMA Book Club