On View at the Getty Center: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970
Noah Purifoy began organizing workshops for local youth at the Watts Towers Art Center in 1964. Working so close to Simon Rodia’s towers, Purifoy was struck by Rodia’s use of discarded materials to create a beautiful and inspiring environment in the midst of the socially and economically deprived Watts neighborhood. In the wake of the Watts rebellion in August of 1965, Purifoy and his colleague Judson Powell collected three tons of charred wood, scorched and twisted metal, and other rubble from the streets of the neighborhood. In this untitled, framed assemblage, Purifoy combined crushed metal, melted plastic and found objects, including a belt buckle and a bent piece of jewelry, to create delicate forms reminiscent of flower paintings or decorative carving. Informed by Purifoy’s professional training in social work and his strong belief in the healing power of art education, this work conveys a positive message in spite of the strife that generated its materials.