Big Bling in Fabrication

Martin Puryear’s sculpture, Big Bling, will be on view in Madison Square Park from May 16, 2016 through January 8, 2017. Forty feet tall, thirty-eight feet long, and ten feet wide, Big Bling will be the largest temporary outdoor sculpture Puryear has created. These photographs show the piece mid-construction at the Unalam fabrication plant in Sidney, New York.

Big Bling is made of largely quotidian materials including plywood and pressure-treated timber. Its horizontal and vertical beams meet on a uniform 2′ x 2′ grid. The beams are connected with mechanical connections of bolts and steel angles, giving the piece impressive structural integrity.

When complete, Big Bling will be comprised of seven sections, each between 6′ and 8′ tall. A gold-leaf shackle will be anchored near the top of the sculpture, and the work will be wrapped in chain-link fencing. The final piece may suggest themes as diverse as architectural ascension, limitation, and abstracted animality; these photographs of Big Bling in construction capture a process rich in thoughtful engineering and careful choice of material.

Images: Martin Puryear, Fabrication of Big Bling, 2016. Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, 40 x 10 x 38 ft. (projected size). Collection of the artist. © Martin Puryear. Photograph by Yasunori Matsui.