• Martin Puryear, Ladder for Booker T. Washington, 1996, ash and maple, 36' x 22 3/4“ (narrowing to 1 1/4” at top) x 3". Photo: David Wharton.

    Martin Puryear

    Modern Art Museum | Fort Worth
    3200 Darnell Street
    February 24–May 18, 2008

    MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
    11 West 53rd Street
    November 4, 2007–January 14, 2008

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
    151 Third Street
    November 1, 2008–January 25, 2009

    National Gallery of Art
    Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
    June 22–September 28, 2008

    Curated by John Elderfield

    Martin Puryear’s sculpture has long been celebrated for its ability to hover between Shaker-like minimalism and Surrealism. Trained in carpentry, Puryear is acutely sensitive to materials, particularly wood, crafting absurdist biomorphic constructions that are often suavely linear but at times dense and compact. Some hang breathlessly in space, as though holding a pose, even as they recline on the floor like odalisques. This retrospective of some forty-five sculptures, spanning 1977 to the present, may show that Puryear’s peculiarly warm and homey oeuvre conjures afresh the uncanniness of the organic, while the objects’ openness evokes the expansiveness of American space.

  • Yves Klein, Leap Into the Void, 1960, photo panel, 96 x 60". © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

    “Declaring Space: Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein”

    Modern Art Museum | Fort Worth
    3200 Darnell Street
    September 30, 2007–January 6, 2008

    Curated by Michael Auping

    Determining relationships between American and European abstraction in the latter half of the twentieth century by setting specific artists in dialogue—the ambition of this exhibition of some thirty works by Rothko, Newman, Fontana, and Klein from the late 1940s through the ’60s—is a critical prompt both necessary and long overdue. Although the show focuses primarily on painting, it will also include a number of rarely seen projects in other media, including a reconstruction of Fontana’s installation from Documenta 4 in 1968—a massive white labyrinth that surrounds a large plaster “cut”—and Klein’s Concert, 1959, a musical performance that, in a Cagean move, incorporates silence. Curator Michael Auping conceptualizes the show around spatial themes in postwar abstract art, in which “the boundaries of traditional pictorial space were crossed and a new realm of abstract theater was engaged.”