American, b. 1941
Maquettes for North Cove Pylons, 1992
Wood, wire, paint
© Martin Puryear, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
Photo by Jeffrey Jenkins
Puryear’s North Cove Pylons, a site-specific installation at Battery Park City, function as beacons, to be seen from either land or water. For Puryear, it was important that the illumination of his sculptures come from within the work: both are lit internally, and the light projects upward from below. 

One pylon is made from tiered granite forms that seem to push downward like arrows; the base is swollen, as though collapsing under the weight of this movement and pressure. The other is open and airy, constructed from latticed stainless steel lantern forms, emanating upward from a perfectly cylindrical granite base. Together, they illustrate the dichotomous tension between downward momentum and ascent.