Art21 Extended Play

The Making of Martin Puryear’s “Big Bling”

Detail of Big Bling (2016) in Madison Square Park in New York City. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: Ian Forster.

Detail of Big Bling (2016) in Madison Square Park in New York City.
Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2016. Cinematography: Ian Forster.

“My work has a potential for evolution and change and open-endedness, which to me feels resonant with what it is to live a life.” — Martin Puryear

Today’s ART21 Exclusive follows the fabrication and installation of Martin Puryear’s monumental public sculpture Big Bling (2016). “There’s a story in the making of objects,” the artist told ART21 in an archival interview. “There’s a narrative in the fabrication of things, which to me is fascinating.”

Because Puryear could not produce the colossal 40-foot sculpture in his studio, he worked with a team of expert manufacturers to realize his vision. At Unalam, a specialty lumber fabricator in Sidney, New York, glulam wood beams were bent to create the tight curves specified by his design. Jon Lash of Digital Atelier explains how materials such as chain link fencing were chosen to create an industrial-looking surface, which contrasts with the golden “bling” at the sculpture’s peak. Big Bling is on view in Madison Square Park in New York City through January 8, 2017 and will later be presented in Philadelphia by the Association for Public Art.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Director & Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster & Susan Sollins. Editor: Morgan Riles. Camera: Ian Forster, Mead Hunt & John Marton. Sound: Jerry Stein. Artwork Courtesy: Martin Puryear & Matthew Marks Gallery. Special Thanks: Digital Atelier, Madison Square Park Conservancy & Unalam.

 

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