A Bouquet of Canoes: Seven Things About Big Edge

Big Edge. Nancy Rubins. Mixed Media. 2009. Paradise, Nevada.

By Michelle Railey

1.) The sculpture is titled Big Edge and is made up of over 200 full-sized watercraft.

2.) The artist, Nancy Rubins, has claimed that there is no explicit meaning that should be read into the sculpture but, as Atlas Obscura points out, the “‘boats on dry land’ concept does draw attention to the troubling difficulties of building a verdant, lush metropolis in the center of an arid desert.” Rubins maintains that messaging isn’t her job: “My job is to make it so people can bring to it whatever they have got going, for the viewer to have their own interpretation.”

3.) The sculpture’s dimensions are 57′ by 75′. Each boat in the sculpture weighs between 60 and 125 pounds.

4.) Lochsa Engineering assisted in the production of this piece, surveying the land and the effects of temperature and time of day and how this affected the elements of the sculpture. Lochsa has offices in Boise (ID), Las Vegas (NV), Denver (CO), and Calgary (Alberta, Canada).

5.) You can find Big Edge in front of the Vdara Tower in the Aria complex in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Although, like most of The Strip, it’s technically in Paradise, not Las Vegas.) The Vdara, the Aria, the CityCenter (the original name of the area where the sculpture is) and Big Edge, itself, were all built in 2009.

6.) Nancy Rubins was born in 1952. She wears red lipstick, says she’s definitely a morning person, and lives and works in Topanga Canyon, California. Her past works have featured pieces of airplanes, mattresses, water heaters. Of using boats in her art, she says “They’re vehicles for humans. They all refer to us.” Rubin has said that what she really loves about Big Edge is “the stainless steel wires because you’re kind of getting an engineering and physics lesson, and in the light, you see this really beautiful web work.” Rubins has worked with engineers to develop her works since 2004.

7.) Key words, names, and phrases from the news in 2009? Balloon Boy, Obama, Great Recession, AIG, Michael Jackson, Maersk Alabama, Palin Resignation, 9 Percent Unemployment, George Tiller, Rod Blagojevich, Sotomayor, Fort Hood, Bowe Bergdahl, Underwear Bomber, Octomom, L’Aquila Earthquake, H1N1, CERN


See also: Nancy Rubins (Wikipedia), “What Nancy Rubins Does With 20,000 Pounds of Metal” by Rachel Small (Interview), “CityCenter’s Crown Jewel” by Kristen Peterson (Las Vegas Sun), 2009 U.S. and world (Wikipedia)

Michelle Railey: Twitter. Amos: Twitter, Instagram. Email:amosmagdotcom@gmail.com


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