Noah Purifoy. Unknown. 1967

Noah Purifoy Unknown 1967

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 412 The David Geffen Wing

As a young artist in Los Angeles, Purifoy was profoundly influenced by the 1965 Watts Rebellion, six days of civil unrest by residents of Watts and other predominantly African American neighborhoods of the city in response to decades of racial injustice. In the event’s aftermath, the artist collected charred debris from the streets and assembled it into a series of sculptures, a technique that would define his practice for years to come. Unknown, though more joyful and playful than Purifoy’s Watts works, is a rare surviving example of his early assemblages. With its easily identifiable castoff objects, it suggests a question central to Purifoy’s practice: “How . . . you tie the art process in with existence.”

Gallery label from 2020
Medium
Painted wood with parasol armature and handle, found wood, pasted papers, backgammon and poker chips, fishing pole, wire, bird cage parts, and other materials
Dimensions
43 × 43 × 7 1/2" (109.2 × 109.2 × 19.1 cm)
Credit
Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds
Object number
789.2017
Copyright
© Noah Purifoy Foundation. Used by permission.
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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