Nancy Rubins - "Big Edge", 2009

Harmon Circle at CityCenter

The Artist: American, he was born in Naples, Texas, 1952, 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. Driving through Harmon Circle, it will be impossible to ignore Nancy Rubins’ monumental Big Edge. This colossal work, with hundreds of boats carefully sculpted together, creates the perfect centerpiece for the city’s greatest architectural achievement. She was commissioned for the collection at CityCenter based on her ability to achieve this scale of work with such grandeur. 

The Installation: Nancy Rubins is a sculptor and artisan that is famous for her grandiose works created from salvaged and industrial consumer goods. With the creation of "Big Edge", she has created a colorful composition of numerous aluminum rowboats, canoes and other small river and ocean vessels finessed into an eye-catching, gravity-defying form the artist calls “a blooming flower.” At 51 x 75 x 57 feet, these stainless steel and aluminum water vessels, sitting in a traffic circle behind Aria it is cantilevered over Vdara’s main drive. I feel that it is one of the most visually stunning commissions at CityCenter. The boats are connected with thousands of pounds of stainless steel wire cable that forms a web-like structure. Each of the nearly 200 canoes were precisely placed according to Rubins’ direction based on its color, shape and structural contribution to the whole. Each of the reclaimed craft are showcased in the piece exactly as originally found. The commission is located on the exterior of Vdara Hotel & Spa and is one of Rubins’ few works with a permanent home. Over the course of her career, Rubins has designed amazing works of art from mattresses, trailers, hot water heaters, airplanes and small appliances since the 1970s. For more than 25 years, Rubins has exhibited extensively around the world in major solo and group exhibitions.