Mark di Suvero began making sculpture in the late 1950s with massive, weathered timbers and found objects such as barrels, chains, and tires. Bold and gestural, the dramatically cantilevered forms in di Suvero's early works were considered the sculptural equivalents of abstract expressionist paintings. In the 1960s di Suvero began to craft works from steel beams that he moved with cranes and bolted together to create large outdoor pieces. Aurora is a tour de force of design and engineering. Its sophisticated structural system distributes eight tons of steel over three diagonal supports to combine massive scale with elegance of proportion. Several beams converge within a central circular hub and then explode outward, imparting tension and dynamism to the whole. The title, Aurora, comes from a poem about New York City by Federico García Lorca (Spanish, 1898–1936). The steel forms a letter "k": the artist has said the work is a portrait of his wife, Kate.
(Gagosian Gallery, New York); purchased 17 June 1996 by NGA.