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"Big Bling"Martin Puryear

June 10, 2016

This episode of 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 was 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.

More information and credits

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.

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.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Licensing

Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Stay inspired this summer with Summer of Shorts, featuring ten new films premiering across ten consecutive Fridays throughout the summer.

Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear’s objects and public installations—in wood, stone, tar, wire, and various metals—are a marriage of minimalist logic with traditional ways of making. Puryear’s evocative, dreamlike explorations in abstract forms retain vestigial elements of utility from everyday objects found in the world. In the massive stone piece, Untitled, Puryear enlisted a local stonemason to help him construct a building-like structure on a ranch in northern California. On one side of the work is an eighteen-foot-high wall—on the other side, an inexplicable stone bulge. A favorite form that occurs in Puryear’s work, the thick-looking stone bulge is surprisingly hollow, coloring the otherwise sturdy shape with qualities of uncertainty, emptiness, and loss.

“There’s a narrative in the fabrication of things, which to me is fascinating.”

Martin Puryear

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