Unalam Goes International

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Glulam Basis Of Sculpture

At Venice’s La Biennale Arte

Martin Puryear’s Glulam-based “Swallowed Sun” will be unveiled Sunday at La Biennale Arte in Venice, “the Olympics of the artworld.”  It was assembled in Unalam’s Sidney plant in collaboration with R.J. Millworks of Oneonta.
Puryear’s “Big Bling,” also made with Glulam, was set up in New York City’s Madison Square Park in 2016.

UNADILLA – Remember “Big Bling,” Martin Puryear’s Glulam-based  sculpture unveiled New York City’s Madison Square Park in 2016?

Sunday, “Swallowed Sun,” a new collaboration between Puryear and Glulam manufacturer Unalam of Unadilla will be unveiled in the U.S. Pavilion at La Biennale Arte in Venice, Italy, part of Puryear’s “Liberty/Libertà.” The sculptor was chosen to represent the U.S. this year at La Biennale.

“When the call came in to be a part of Martin’s sculpture team for this exhibition, we didn’t hesitate to say yes,” Unalam CEO Craig Van Cott said.  “The hardest part of all of this has been keeping the entire project a secret,” as required by La Biennale Arte, known as “the Olympics of the art world.”

“Swallowed Sun” is a 22-foot tall by 44-foot wide plywood and Glulam timber “screen” that is less than a foot deep.  Unalam manufactured the Glulam supports, and enlisted Oneonta’s R.J. Millworkers to precisely cut each plywood piece. The screen was then assembled under Puryear’s direction in Unalam’s Sidney plant.

“We had about a month between the time that we received the final drawings and when the freight company came to crate the artwork and load it in a shipping container bound for Venice,” said Unalam VP/Operations Leif Van Cott, who managed the project.

The Glulam construction is seen, laid out in Unalam’s Sidney plant.

It was shipped to Venice, connected with a large steel spiral, and installed outside in the U.S. Pavilion’s forecourt.

A team from Unadilla, including Craig and Leif, are in Venice for the opening.

“We are used to manufacturing structural wood for buildings; artwork presents us with another challenge entirely,” Craig said. “I can’t thank Martin and Brooke enough for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring our talents to this amazing project.”

Martin Puryear: Liberty/Libertà will be on view in the U.S. Pavilion until Nov. 24.

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