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Martin Puryear: "Big Bling" | ART21 "Exclusive"

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Episode #235: 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" 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.

Martin Puryear's sculptures—in wood, stone, tar, wire, and various metals—marry minimalist logic with traditional methods of making. Puryear's explorations in abstract forms retain vestigial elements of utility from everyday objects, while introducing unusual shapes that complicate the aesthetic and encourage sustained viewing. A form that reoccurs in Puryear's work is the hollow mass, a solid shape emanating qualities of uncertainty and emptiness.

Learn more about the artist at:
http://www.art21.org/artists/martin-puryear

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.