To focus on Puryear’s devotion to craft and the handmade is valid, but now seems too narrow a view.
Most shows can’t or don’t hold these very separate aspects in synchronous rotation: sober assessment of an art historical lineage and a feeling of intimacy. This one does.
The Venice Biennale’s official exhibition, May You Live In Interesting Times, presents art that speaks to the present, not in the direct fashion of journalism, but in ways that can challenge existing habits of thought.
The 77-year-old sculptor has a history of talking back to the government, but we will see if his streak continues on the world stage.
In 1989, after a protracted litigation, a jury of five voted four to one in favor of removing Richard Serra’s “Tilted Arc” (1981) from Federal Plaza in Manhattan, where it had stood for nearly a decade.
According to the wall text in the not-to-be-missed exhibition Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions at the Morgan Library & Museum, the artist was in “the Peace Corp in Sierra Leone, West Africa” from 1964 to ’66.
HUDSON, NY — River Crossings, the recently opened show up at the historic Thomas Cole House and Olana, Frederic Edwin Church’s architectural ode to Orientalism, over-promises and under-delivers.
Recently, and rather unexpectedly, the term “negative capability,” which was coined by the poet John Keats, came to mind. Was this an outlandish association to make while looking at Martin Puryear’s debut exhibition at Matthew Marks?
Like Serra, Puryear went to Yale’s famed M.F.A. program (1969-71), but he attended five years after Serra had graduated. In fact, Serra and Robert Morris were visiting artists while he was a student there.
It is easy to forget that Richard Serra (b.1939) and Martin Puryear (b.1941) were born only two years apart. The different relationships that they developed toward craft and materials makes it all too easy to overlook that they are nearly contemporaries.
In Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard envisions the house as a “vertical being,” with two symbolic poles: the irrationality of the cellar and the rational consciousness of the roof. “Up near the roof, all our thoughts are clear … Here we participate in the carpenter’s solid geometry.” The same can be said of Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen’s “Mine Pavilion,” a radiant wooden structure constructed in downtown Denver, which recalls the mining settlements erected when gold prospectors flocked to what would become Denver City.
GATESHEAD, UK — I’ve visited 35 states in the USA since I moved to Chicago ten years ago, and I’ve been struck many times by the presence of high-quality art museums in out-of-the-way places, but it’smore surprising to see a comparable art space in England. But the Baltic Mill Art Museum, in the northeast of England, is just such a place, and it’s currently celebrating its tenth anniversary.