The Big Edge at Aria Resort & Casino (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Nancy Rubins’ “Big Edge” sculpture combines over 200 aluminum canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats, each weighing between 60 and 125 pounds, into one flowering cluster of art. Built in 2009 and still standing today, Big Edge stands at a length of 75 feet and brightens up the day of every visitor to the CityCenter. Described as a “bouquet” and a “big metal flower,” Big Edge is the epitome of Nancy Rubins’ sculpture art, which specializes in clustering airplane parts, water heaters, and other industrial consumer goods into blooming bundles. Big Edge has also been described as “gravity-defying,” as thousands of pounds of stainless steel are used to make the sculpture appear as if it’s hovering above the ground. Although Rubins claims that Big Edge has no explicit meaning, its “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.
Nancy Rubins transforms industrial, manufactured objects—such as mattresses, appliances, boats—into the building blocks of her physically commanding monumental sculptures. This sculpture, for example, features numerous and varied canoes and rowboats, arranged around a large steel armature, like many leaves on the limb of a tree. Miyamoto provided structural design services for a large and irregular sculpture adjacent to a roadway. The design consisted of a development of performance-based design criteria, code-compliance, 3-D dynamic analysis, contractibility, completeness and quality. One of the most important tasks of the process is the communication of the response characteristics of the structure with the client. For structures where design response limits are not well defined in building codes, it is important to have limitations that satisfy the artist and engineer and be established and reliably quantified in the design process.
Nancy Rubins (born 1952 in Naples, Texas) is an American sculptor and Installation artist. Her sculptural works are primarily composed of blooming arrangements of large rigid objects such as televisions, small appliances, camping and construction trailers, hot water heaters, mattresses, airplane parts, rowboats, kayaks, canoes, surfboards, and other objects. Works such as Big Edge at CityCenter in Las Vegas contain over 200 boat vessels. Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Monochrome I, Built to Live Anywhere, at Home Here, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, contains 66 used aluminum boats and rises to a height of 30 ft. Rubins was born in Naples (Texas) and grew up in Tullahoma, Tennessee. She studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, where she received her BFA in 1974, and then at the University of California, Davis where she received her MFA in 1976. Rubins currently resides in Topanga, California and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1982 to 2004.