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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?