Fort Worth

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, 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.

Fort Worth

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.