Salvage and Savior: Noah Purifoy’s Assemblage

By: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

On the recent 50th anniversary of the Watts “rebellion,” “uprising,” or “riot,” (depending on your political stance), the Los Angeles Times ran two feature stories related to artist Noah Purifoy. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) also currently features a retrospective on this same assemblage artist and sculptor in “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada.”

Though not known well internationally, Purifoy’s legacy looms large in Los Angeles. In 1965, he constructed his earliest body of sculptural assemblage out of the burned debris from the Watts Rebellion, establishing a name for himself as an artist, activist, and educator.

In his 2009 article “Learning from Watts Towers: Assemblage and Community-Based Art in California,” Richard Cándida Smith looks back at both the Watts Towers and Purifoy as a community activist and leader…

Read the rest here at JSTOR Daily.

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