Right off the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, amidst luxury casinos and towering neon lights, lies something completely out of place. Although bodies of water in the Mojave Desert are hard to come by, Las Vegas holds a collection of over 200 full-sized boats in the middle of the dry land and towering glass skyscrapers that make up Vegas’ CityCenter plaza.
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.