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Madison Square Park’s latest public art project is big on bling

Written by
Howard Halle

Madison Square Park has become the go-to place for envelope-pushing public art projects—like Teresita Fernández’s crowd pleasing canopy installation, Fata Morgana—and this spring should prove no different as the Madison Square Park Conservancy unveils its latest offering: A towering 40-foot-tall sculpture by renowned sculptor, Martin Puryear.

A latticed structure made of plywood and chain-link fencing, Big Bling, as it’s called, resembles a roller coaster with a kidney-shaped cutout in the center. More impressively, its crowning point features a massive gold-leaf shackle evoking the bling in the title. While the piece’s open, multi-tiered form invites climbing, chain-like fencing closes off the work’s interior.

Big Bling’s overall shape has a prow like quality, not unlike its neighbor across 23rd Street, the Flatiron Building. If you viewed Big Bling upside-down, it would also remind you of a giant ear sporting a serious earring. The artist describes Big Bling as part animal, part abstract sculpture and part intellectual meditation. It will be lording over its locale beginning May 16 through January of next year.

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