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Martin Puryear (American, b. 1941)
Maroon, 1987–88
Steel, wire mesh, wood and tar
76 × 120 × 78 in. (193.04 × 304.8 × 198.12 cm)
Gift of the Contemporary Art Society M1991.24
Photo credit: Donald Young Gallery
© Martin Puryear
Currently on View

Martin Puryear identifies with a Minimalist emphasis on "the power of the simple single thing as opposed to a full-blown complex array of things." However, he rejects the industrial materials commonly associated with the movement, in favor of those more organic in nature. Puryear learned carpentry and craft traditions from his travels to West Africa, and basketry and quillwork in Scandinavia. Maroon is one of the artist's first works in which he incorporates tar over wire mesh, achieving the artist's desire to "mediat[e] between a feeling of massiveness and fragility to reach a point of extreme vulnerability." With its bulbous shape, circular wooden cap, and variety of materials and textures, Maroon reflects Puryear's ability to create subtle contradictions within a singular form.

Publication History
Elderfield, John et al., Martin Puryear. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 139 and 166, color pl. 25.

Visona, Monica Blackmun, et al. A History of Art in Africa. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001, p. 517, b/w repro. p.15-23.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 173, color illus.

Sobel, Dean. From Figure to Floor: Sculpture in the 20th Century from the Collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1998, p. 69, cat. 55, b/w illus. p. 58-59.

Monreal, Luis, et al. Martin Puryear. Barcelona: Fundacion "la Caixa", 1997, color repro. p. 28, fig. 15.

Howlett, Margaret. New Points of View. Scholastic Art Magazine, vol. 26, no. 6. color repro. p. 7.
Exhibition History
Martin Puryear, Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 4, 2007–January 14, 2008, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, February 24–May 18, 2008; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, June 22–September 28, 2008; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, November 1, 2008–January 25, 2009.

From Figure to Floor: Sculpture in the 20th Century, Milwaukee Art Museum, September 11–November 8, 1998.

Martin Puryear, Art Institute of Chicago, October 30, 1991–January 5, 1992; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, February 4–May 10, 1992; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, August 2–October 11, 1992; Philadelphia Museum of Art, November 8, 1992–January 3, 1993.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.