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|Martin Puryear started in Sierra_Leone 1964|
|Mel Glenn, Martin Puryear|
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Martin Puryear (born May 23, 1941) is an African American sculptor. He was born in Washington, D.C., and he spent his youth studying practical crafts, learning how to build guitars and furniture. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone from 1964 to 1966. His work is often described as a union of minimalism and these traditional crafts. Puryear works in media such as wood, stone, tar, and wire.
Martin Puryear’s work is the product of much thought, assembled in a minimalist, simple design. Two of his main works are Sanctuary and Box and Pole. The latter’s simplicity is evident just by analyzing its simple title. Box and Pole comprises a box on the ground with a hundred foot pole jutting upwards to the sky, therefore symbolizing our position on earth. We are superior to some things (the box), yet inferior to others (God)[attribution needed]. He is clearly a modern sculptor, but in works such as Sanctuary he uses primitive techniques to create his final work. Sanctuary is basically a stick connecting a box that anchors what is on the other end of the stick, a wheel. The wheel can move, but its movement is restricted, symbolic of human life. His work contributes to society as a whole as it teaches us many moral lessons such as the two mentioned.
In 2003, he served on the Jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition.
The Museum of Modern Art presented a 30-year survey of Puryear's work that opened on November 4, 2007.
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has recently acquired 7 woodcuts on handmade paper.