May 18, 2016
Martin Puryear Installation Big Bling Opens in Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park welcomed a gigantic new arrival this week, and we were lucky enough to be at the beautiful opening reception. In fact, many members of the NoMad community were on hand to greet the new art installation Big Bling by American artist Martin Puryear.
Big Bling is a towering forty-foot high structure made mostly of wood and wrapped in fine chain link fence, with a giant gold-leafed shackle hanging from the top of the structure. The form is animalistic yet abstract, so as to invite audience interpretation. The force of the sculpture clearly flows from its immensity — it is the largest outdoor temporary structure ever created by the artist.
Martin Puryear is known both for his mostly-wood sculptures and also for the methods he uses to create them. He is devoted to using traditional methods of wood working, such as those found in the trades and crafts of boat building and traditional carpentry. Puryear’s minimalist pieces engage audiences with visual poetry and, at times, ambiguity. His work has been shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Puryear was on hand at the opening reception as a featured speaker, along with David Berliner of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Brooke Kamin Rapaport of Mad. Sq. Art, Murali Balasubramanian of JP Morgan Securities and Lisa Erf of the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection.
The installation of the work comes through the efforts of Mad. Sq. Art, the art program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, which is committed to bringing the greatest artists in the world to the public for free. This is the thirty-third exhibition of public art in the park since the inception of Mad. Sq. Art in 2004. Past exhibitions have included the work of Antony Gormley, Sol LeWitt, Orly Genger, Leo Villareal and more.
After Big Bling departs Madison Square Park on January 8th, the piece will be installed in Philadelphia for an opening in May 2017. The move is being organized by The Association for Public Art, an organization that promotes public art in Philadelphia, partnering with the Madison Square Park Conservancy for the first time.
So, what does Big Bling really mean? You’ll have to visit the park and decide for yourself!