Noah Purifoy Exhibit at LACMA

Jazzy and fun as well as thought provoking, Noah Purifoy’s junk assemblages at LACMA in LA give new meaning to recycled art and design.


The Last Supper(1988) above

Purifoy (1917-2004), an African-American artist born in Alabama, is best known for his outdoor sculptural installations in Joshua Tree, California, using found objects such as bicycles, beer barrels, and bowling balls among other throwaways. His fabulous, fantastical junkyard is in the Mohave Desert, but you can see some of his re-purposed creations from there as well as smaller pieces in LA at LACMA now until January 3, 2016.

Taking a page from Marcel Duchamp, Purifoy’s Dada influenced assemblages convey an urban sensibility and social perspective. His 66 Signs of Neon was an idea born from the Watts race riots of 1965 using burnt debris from the streets. His Strange Fruit references Billy Holliday’s song about lynching and social injustice. Perhaps in light of the recent racial conflicts with the police, these constructions have even more resonance today. But simply making art seems to have been as important as being a social activist. Like the jazz he embraced, his works flow with humor and commentary with abstract elements that form a whole, as evidenced in Rags and Old Iron I (After Nina Simone).

When his creations are meant to convey a social message, there’s movement and thought behind each work. From a distance Purifoy’s sense of color and design is exquisite; then upon close inspection there’s humor in his creative use of found objects. To see the clever make up of each assemblage is to appreciate old junk anew—as part of the human experience.


#art #Visit LA #Found objects

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