Date: November 16, 2010
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
NMSP’s “Yes! For Lady Day” Repaired Following Windstorm
University Park, Illinois, November 16, 2010 - “Yes! For Lady Day,” a towering masterpiece at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park (NMSP) at Governors State University was repaired this week following damage from gale-force winds in October.
Artist Mark DiSuvero’s monumental sculpture, a tribute to the jazz singer Billie Holiday, consists of 30-foot-tall steel I-beams supporting two halves of a railroad tank car. The tank car sections are suspended from the I-beam frame by steel cables. “Yes! For Lady Day” has been part of the GSU landscape since 1969.
As a result of high winds October 28, a cable holding the lower tank car section snapped and the front of the piece fell to the ground. Geoffrey Bates, NMSP director and curator, said there was no damage to the sculpture beyond the broken cable.
“It was imperative that we make repairs as soon as possible since the piece is one of the signature elements of our collection, and one of the artist’s most significant works,” Bates said. “‘Yes! For Lady’” is one reason people from around the world visit the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park.”
Bates said the wind damage also raised questions about the stability of the sculpture’s upper portion without the counterweight provided by the lower tank car section. “There was clearly a temporary safety factor involved and we wanted to dodge any further windstorms while the piece wasn’t intact.” The sculpture was roped off and snow fencing was installed to prevent visitors from nearing the artwork.
Meanwhile, Bates contacted DiSuvero’s studio and suggested two Chicago area artists for the repair work, Terrence Karpowicz and Ted Sitting Crow Garner. Both have pieces in the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. Garner, in particular, has worked with DiSuvero for decades. Ivana Mestrovich, DiSuvero’s studio director, agreed with the choice.
Garner and Karpowicz, along with Don Selby of Chicago Crane Service, arrived at the sculpture park on Tuesday. Using a crane, they placed a sling around the lower tank car portion and gently raised it. Garner directed Karpowicz and Selby in their adjustment of the massive steel object as he installed the new cable. Once shackled to the primary horizontal beam and the rail car’s turret, the piece was lowered into its new position.
Bates says the repaired sculpture replicates “Yes! For Lady Day” as originally installed in the 1960s. During its most recent installation, the piece was altered with a slightly shorter cable. On Tuesday, the cable was lengthened by three inches. Bates says the longer cable creates a downward tilt to the rail car, providing both an “insouciant” quality to the sculpture and better drainage for rainwater that is sometimes blown into the piece.
The Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park is located at Governors State University’s main campus in University Park. The park is free of charge and open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. For more information about the sculpture park, visit www.govst.edu/sculpture or call (708) 534-4486.