Published here for the first time, this new body of work by Martin Puryear (born 1941), renowned American sculptor, incorporates a range of materials, from bronze, cast iron and mirror-polished stainless steel to a variety of woods, including red cedar, tulip poplar and ebony. Puryear has adapted his techniques from a range of traditions, including woodcarving, joinery and boat building, as well as digital technology. What sets his work apart, however, is its unmistakable devotion to form.
Many of the sculptures featured here incorporate the up-and-over figure of the Phrygian cap, an object freighted with significance for over two centuries, beginning with its embrace by the Jacobins of the French Revolution. An essay by Alex Potts helps to unravel these historical allusions while offering a concise overview of Puryear's work and its remarkable craftsmanship.
Martin Puryear's sculpture has received increasing acclaim in the years since 1989, when he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant and the grand prize at the São Paulo Bienal, where he was the sole United States representative. Prepared to accompany a 1991 exhibition of his work at the Art Institute of Chicago, this cleanly designed and generously formatted catalog...