Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada
Noah Purifoy gained recognition in the wake of the Watts Riots of 1965, when he wandered with musician Judson Powell the streets of their neighborhood, gathering detritus from the violence, some of it identifiable, others not. He then assembled these artifacts into impactful paintings, collages, and sculptures that resonates especially when considering their source.
According to this profile in the Los Angeles Times, the riots were a tipping point for Purifoy, socially and as an artist: [Before the Watts Riots] "I had a beret and all. I ate cheese and drank wine. But I wasn't an artist yet until Watts. That made me an artist."
Similar to Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas, seeking more space and solitude, Purifoy moved to Joshua Tree in the '80s, where, according to the Los Angeles Times, he "cover[ed] 10 acres of desert in oversized assemblages crafted from washing machines and car grills." Photographs of a couple of these sculptures are mounted on walls for the exhibit, perhaps as large as life-size.
The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus is the only venue outside of Los Angeles to host the Noah Purifoy 'Junk Dada' exhibit. The opening was last Friday night and the exhibit runs through April 10. Check it out!