los-angeles

Noah Purifoy, Ode to Frank Gehry, 2000, mixed media. Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015. © Noah Purifoy Foundation.

Noah Purifoy

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Noah Purifoy, Ode to Frank Gehry, 2000, mixed media. Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2015. © Noah Purifoy Foundation.

“JUNK DADA,” the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s recent survey of the work of Noah Purifoy, could hardly have felt timelier—or more belated. On the one hand, the elegantly installed show, curated by Franklin Sirmans and Yael Lipschutz, has arrived during a moment of renewed art-world attention to African American elder statesmen, from Ed Clark to Stanley Whitney; it also contributes to recent efforts to rethink the racial politics of assemblage in the context of the Southern California scene, as emblematized by Kellie Jones’s important 2011 exhibition “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980.” On the other hand, Purifoy, who died in 2004, more than thirty years after his first appearance at LACMA, was critically and financially undervalued by the artistic mainstream for much of his career, despite his pioneering work in urban and rural settings with the found

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