Brooke Kamin Rapaport

Courtesy of Brooke Kamin Rapaport.

Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear
Big Bling
2016
Installation view in Madison Square Park, New York
Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, chain- link fencing, fiberglass, and gold leaf
40 x 10 x 38 feet
Collection of the artist
Photo by Jordan Tinker
© Martin Puryear
Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.

Martin Puryear

Martin Puryear
Big Bling
2016
Installation view in Madison Square Park, New York
Pressure-treated laminated timbers, plywood, chain- link fencing, fiberglass, and gold leaf
40 x 10 x 38 feet
Collection of the artist
Photo by Jordan Tinker
© Martin Puryear
Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.

View Gallery - 3 images
Venice

Martin Puryear Represents the U.S. in Venice with an Exhibition Curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport

Taking over the U.S. Pavilion for this 58th Venice Biennale is “Martin Puryear: Liberty/ Martin Puryear: Libertà.” The project is commissioned and curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport, the deputy director and Martin Friedman senior curator of Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York.

On view will be new sculpture and a monumental installation in the forecourt of the pavilion. Whitewaller asked Kamin Rapaport about Puryear’s plans.

WHITEWALLER: You previously worked with Martin Puryear, for the 2016 public work in Madison Square Park, Big Bling. Can you tell us about that experience of working together?

BROOKE KAMIN RAPAPORT: In the studio, Martin Puryear makes sculpture that endures. Building Big Bling, a short-lived work shown outdoors at a teeming public site that 60,000 people traverse daily, would invigorate the artist. Public art is viewed in the context of full democracy: no admission fees, complete accessibility, open to all. Puryear’s penchant was to describe Big Bling as a “construction,” but to limit any further interpretation, inviting viewers to pursue their impetus and their imagination to think hard about a sculpture that sat so gracefully on Madison Square Park’s Oval Lawn, and so overpoweringly demanded understanding.

WW: What makes Martin Puryear a fitting representation of the U.S. as an artist at this moment in time?

BKR: Martin Puryear is one of the most important artists working today. His sculpture confronts historic and contemporary issues and ideas. For more than five decades, Martin has created a body of work distinguished by a complex visual vocabulary and deeply considered meaning. His sculpture and works on paper have influenced generations of artists in the U.S. and internationally.

WW: This is the first time the U.S. Pavilion will be curated by an organization devoted to public art. How do you think that will make this year’s presentation unique?

BKR: In Venice, Martin will realize new work for the outdoor forecourt. New and recent sculpture will be on view in the pavilion’s five galleries. The selection of the Conservancy as commissioning institution in Venice is a sign that public art has come of age. The most distinguished artists today want to realize work in the public realm. We are honored to bring Martin’s work to an international audience in Venice.
WW: How did you and the artist want to approach what will occupy the pavilion’s forecourt? How will that interact with the interior galleries?
BKR: When planning new work for the outdoor forecourt and new sculpture for the indoor galleries, Martin has carefully
considered the U.S. Pavilion’s sources and the history of those sources. The pavilion was built in 1930 by New York firm Delano and Aldrich to summon Jeffersonian architecture.
WW: How did Martin Puryear arrive at the theme of liberty for the project?
BKR: Liberty is an essential human theme and continues Martin’s exploration of how everyday objects can transform and change meaning over time. A series of works based on the Phrygian cap, also called a liberty cap, was on view in 2014 at the Matthew Marks Gallery in New York and manifested the artist’s fascination with the motif. Issues related to liberty and reason, citizenry and democracy have long engaged the artist. He will continue with these themes in Venice.

Newsletter

Go inside the the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.