The view along the Schuylkill River just keep getting better, with yet another addition to the array of outdoor artwork that compliments its wooded trails.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of the Association for Public Art (aPA), which works to secure permanent and temporary installations of public art around the city, visitors to the stretch of Kelly Drive that runs from Fountain Green Drive to Girard Avenue Bridge can now check out a new abstract work by Martin Puryear, Big Bling.
- Internationally-renowned artist Martin Puryear’s “Big Bling” is now in Philadelphia.
- Big Bling is on display through November 2017 on the Schuylkill River Trail.
- The sculpture reaches 40 feet in height.
- Big Bling officially opens to the public with a free ceremony on Thursday, June 8.
You might know Puryear from his previous piece in Fairmount Park, Pavilion in the Trees. This open-air viewing platform stretches out above the Horticulture Center Grounds, providing hikers with an aerial view of the surrounding park, as well as a much-needed respite on its wooden benches.
Puryear’s latest public sculpture, which first appeared in New York’s Madison Square Park and is presented here thanks to a collaboration between the aPA and Madison Square Park Conservancy, will remain on display in Philadelphia through November 2017. Like much of his other work, Big Bling relies on Puryear’s woodworking experiences in 1960s West Africa, where he learned to shape timber into pieces that both mimic and defy natural shapes.
Big Bling has been on display during installation along the Schuylkill since the construction of the massive piece began in May, but a public celebration of the sculpture is slated for this Thursday, June 8, 4:30-7 p.m.
During the ceremony, Puryear will be honored for his lifelong contributions to public service in the field of art with the aPA’s Medal of Honor. Interested attendees are encouraged to register beforehand for the free event here.
If you can’t make the celebration, there are plenty of other opportunities to learn more about Puryear. Big Bling itself has been added to the aPA’s Museum Without Walls AUDIO Program, while an exhibition of Puryear’s print pieces will run at the Print Center from September 8 to November 18.
Big Bling visitors can also swing by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see another print work by Puryear, on display in Gallery 124 from June 27 through October 15.