Thursday, March 18, 2010

Noah's Ark

{Spring at Noah Purifoy's Assemblage Kingdom}

Shelter, for raising young.

Shelter, a recollection of a sometimes-homeless childhood.

Blossoms, on Joshua trees, all velvety and mauve.  And pollinated by the tiny white pronuba moth.

Encyclopedias, buckled and variegated, like sheaves of sedimentary rock. For the looking up of things. For the insatiably curious mind of the man who used to live here.

Addax, with spirally horns. Adder, with venom.

Soapbox, for anyone.

Copper chair, for oxidizing.

Noah, who changed the way people think about the desert, broken vacuum cleaners, and art.

Noah, who shows us beauty in the castoff, the unwanted, the mundane.

Noah Purifoy (1917-2004) is known as the father of the black assemblage movement in LA, and was famous for "66 Signs of Neon," a traveling exhibition of sculptures he created from the rubble of the Watts race riot of 1965. A founder of the Watts Towers Art Center and member of the California Arts Council, he worked tirelessly to bring art to prisons, schools and social programs. He left LA and moved to Joshua Tree in 1988 and worked on his 7.5-acre assemblage opus until he died at the age of 86 from smoke inhalation in his trailer after falling asleep with a lighted cigarette. Noah's work will be included in the just-announced, highly-anticipated 2011 show at the Getty Museum, "Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980." 

Noah's Joshua Tree "Museum" is preserved and maintained by his old friend, LA art master/trickster Ed Ruscha. It's  free and open to the elements and public if you can find it.


  1. This is the kind of place that gives me goosebumps; how awesome it would be to visit!
    And thanks for your lovely comments over at my place today! They are all so precious to me! :) XOXO

  2. Thank you for sharing these images. I am moved.

  3. Ooohhh... excited to hear about the upcoming Getty show. Nice and close to me!

  4. great pics, one of my favorite places here in JT

  5. Beautiful!Haunting! I always enjoy these tours of places in the desert that you take us to.

  6. I will probably have to drive over just to examine that JT bud! Obsessed!

    Love your photo of the dove, btw! xo

  7. fantastic photos lily and i love when you teach me new things--now i have to make a trip there for sure. oxoxoxdeb

  8. I found your blog via For Me For You and just love it! I love seeing pics and reading about the great land just east of the city. Stop by my blog when you have a minute:ellenitza. I think you might like it.

  9. So beautiful...I will have to make a trip out there because I live so close it would be a shame not to...

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