Sunday, February 12, 2017

Big Bling in Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park is one of the oldest parks in New York.   Named for President James Madison in 1814, Madison Square was formally opened as a public park on May 10, 1847. This public space was a highly desirable address when it opened.    Today, Madison Square Park is a green jewel in the midst of the city. The Madison Square Park Conservancy is dedicated to keeping Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and lively public park.

Madison Square Park Conservancy also runs the park’s popular public art program.

Since 2004, the Mad. Sq. Art Program has been partnering with acclaimed, visionary artists to realize outdoor work on a monumental scale, work that complements and enhances the environment. These projects are free to the public and have made Madison Square Park a world-renowned cultural destination.
 Last spring  Big Bling, a forty-foot high, temporary multi-tier structure  by the acclaimed American artist Martin Puryear was installed in the middle of the lawn.

Esplanade in Batter Park City
Martin Puryear was born in Washington, DC, in 1941. In his youth, he studied crafts and learned how to build guitars, furniture, and canoes through practical training and instruction.  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. In both 1979 and 1981, and again in 1989, his work was included in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York  presented   in  2007-2008 a major exhibition of the sculpture of Martin Puryear.  The retrospective  featured  approximately forty-five sculptures.
New York already  has a  permanent  outdoor sculpture by the artist. Two tall stainless steel columns create a symbolic portal at the river’s edge in Battery Park  on the  Esplanade in Batter Park City, just north of North Cove.  One of the   columns is   airy and open and made of wire mesh; the other solid and angular. 


Big Bling  is the   largest temporary outdoor sculpture Puryear has created.  Big Bling is part animal form, part abstract sculpture, and part intellectual meditation.   "Bling",  a slang term for flashy jewelry and accessories, is rooted in  urban youth, hip-hop and rap culture of the 1990s.
The sculpture is  on view in Madison Square Park through April 2nd, 2017.  Following New York, Big Bling will travel for installation in Philadelphia.