New York

Martin Puryear, The Load, 2012, wood, steel, glass, 7' 7“ x 15' 5” x 6' 2".

Martin Puryear, The Load, 2012, wood, steel, glass, 7' 7“ x 15' 5” x 6' 2".

Martin Puryear

McKee Gallery

Martin Puryear, The Load, 2012, wood, steel, glass, 7' 7“ x 15' 5” x 6' 2".

Like most of Martin Puryear’s sculpture in this typically virtuosic exhibition of recent work, the piece that met the visitor entering the show, The Rest, 2009–10, has many precedents in his art. Wheels and a long harness pole make this bronze representational—it is a covered wagon, though of a smaller, stubbier kind than the settlers’ Conestoga—but were it stripped of those accessories and turned to stand on its only flat side (the doorway where the rider would sit, open in a wagon but here filled in), it would instantly recall a good number of classic Puryear abstractions: humped, rounded, floor-based objects such as Self, 1978, and Thicket, 1990, the former apparently solid, the latter explicitly hollow. Or, instead, imagine The Rest still minus its wheels and tongue but posed with its door stood vertical: That hooped, elongated horseshoe, fronting a bulbous volume

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