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40-foot-tall ‘Big Bling’ sculpture coming to Kelly Drive

The temporary art installation will be on display through November

Artist Martin Puryear’s “Big Bling” in Madison Square Park will be installed along Kelly Drive later this month.
Photo by Hunter Canning

A colossal, 40-foot-tall sculpture is headed this way from New York at the end of the month and will be on display along Kelly Drive until November.

The Association for Public Art announced that “Big Bling,” a massive, animal-like public art sculpture by artist Maritn Puryear will be on loan from New York’s Madison Square Park Conservancy and on display in East Fairmount Park on Kelly Drive (between Fountain Green Drive and the connecting railway and Girard Avenue bridges) until November 2017.

Big Bling is the largest public sculpture by Puryear to date (for reference, the William Penn statue above City Hall is 37 feet tall). Meant to take on various interpretations, the animal-like structure is made of wood and chain-linked fence material. A gold-leafed shackle adorns the top of the sculpture, hence the “bling” reference.

Given the immense size of the sculpture, it’s going to take some work to install it. A spokesperson for the Association for Public Art told Curbed Philly that the sculpture has already been taken apart and will be transported from New York to Philly on large trucks. The total installation will take four to five days beginning Monday, May 22.

An official dedication ceremony will follow on June 8 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

This will be the second piece of public art by Puryear in Philly, with his first being the hidden gem “Pavilion in the Trees” in West Fairmount Park.