Martin Puryear

Big Bling

Rising forty feet high and eliciting many interpretations, Big Bling is Puryear’s largest temporary outdoor sculpture to date. The colossal multi-tiered wood structure is wrapped in chain-link fence and anchored with a gold-leafed shackle near the top.


Madison Square Park Conservancy


Mad. Sq. Art.'s 33rd Public Art Exhibition, Madison Square Park, New York, NY


Big Bling, 2016, pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, fiberglass, gold leaf


40 x 10 x 38 ft.

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Martin Puryear: Big Bling

Martin Puryear's remarkable installation stands tall at forty feet, making it his largest temporary creation to date. Crafted primarily from wood, which serves as Puryear's signature material, and augmented by chain-link fence, the artwork engages in an abstract discourse with history, art history, identity, and politics. The title of the piece, "Big Bling," draws inspiration from the vibrant urban youth culture of the 1990s, including hip-hop and rap, where "bling" refers to ostentatious jewelry and accessories. Originally commissioned for New York City's Madison Square Park, the artwork's title and its placement within the heart of Manhattan exemplify Puryear's understanding that "Big Bling" reflects the character and inhabitants of densely populated urban environments.

Now, restored and relocated to the campus of MASS MoCA, the artwork's monumental scale in contrast to the smaller scale and density of a New England factory town offers viewers a fresh perspective, while intensifying the impact of the piece's grandeur. Through this impressive installation, Puryear invites viewers to engage in a visually immersive experience that invites contemplation and dialogue on a multitude of themes.

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