Biggie Smalls, or The Notorious B.I.G., got a new sculpture, made by artist Sherwin Banfield in his home borough. Sky’s the Limit in the County of Kings, A Tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. is on display at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. The address is Clumber Corner in DUMBO. Also, it will be on display through spring, 2023.
Sherwin Banfield Honours the Legacy of Biggie Smalls
Queens-based artist Sherwin Banfield’s latest sculpture honours the legacy of late hip hop icon Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G” Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls. The interactive installation is a nine-foot structure made of stainless steel and bronze. It features a crowned head of the Brooklyn native and hip-hop legend, shot by a still-unknown shooter in 1997. Also, at that time he was only 24 years old.
The interactive installation includes one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die” CDs embedded with resin. Also, the resin is into a Coogi sweater-style mosaic backdrop accentuated by tiger medallions evocative of the Versace brand. Also placed in the hands of the sculpture are a golden heart and a gold microphone.
The new public art display is possible because of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The initiative represents New York State’s approach to creating vibrant neighbourhoods and boosting local economies. Also, there are The Downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo Art Fund. This partnership provides grants for eligible art, performance, and accessibility projects looking to enrich public spaces.
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Earlier this year, the two business-boosting groups hosted an open call for proposals. The proposal is from local artists who wanted to showcase an overt art piece. With the 50th anniversary of hip-hop just around the corner, Banfield’s piece stood out to panellists who helped select an exhibit.
Artists Already Received Positive Feedback From the Public
“We were really careful, once we received all these wonderful proposals. We wanted to be sure we were choosing projects that spoke to what was unique about downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo. Pieces that activated our neighbourhood with forward thinking and provocative work. I think this piece fits into that way of thinking”, said Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
The groups already received “wonderfully positive” feedback on the installation, according to Alexandria Sica, president of the Dumbo Improvement District. During its first showcase weekend, organisers enjoyed watching residents stop to engage with the work.
“It’s just proof that people enjoy encountering art like this, and how important it is for keeping conversations going and memorialising an amazing man”, Sica said. She also added Sherwin’s monument is incredibly timely, it’s beautifully executed. “When you see it, as you walk off the Brooklyn Bridge down into Dumbo, you can see this gleaming work on the hillside”, Sica said.
For his part, Banfield drew on his love for hip-hop culture. He calls it the “soundtrack of his life”, to create his intricate piece. “It takes incredible people that understand the vision of artists, who can read the drawing and write up, and understand where the product can exist, and how it can impact culture”, Banfield told Brooklyn Paper. “It takes those important people to understand artists creative vision”.