Installation view of “Martin Puryear” at MOMA, with (foreground) For Beckwourth, 1980.

Martin Puryear: Spirit, Personhood, and History

Martin Puryear’s work muses on spirit, personhood, and history as a sort of antidote to the nation’s present identity crisis. His retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, traveling until 2009 to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, takes viewers in new directions while drawing connections to some of America’s historical roots. One uncomfortable fact: Puryear is only the fifth African American artist to receive a solo exhibition in painting or sculpture since MoMA’s founding in 1929.