I have visited the Noah Purifoy Museum many times now, and in addition to noticing something new each time, I don’t see an end in sight. Set just far enough off of the main road in the town of Joshua Tree, the space offers an opportunity to have a personal and often private experience Purifoy’s works in the incredible natural setting of the high desert.
In the late 1980s, after 11 years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions,which brought art into the state prison system, Purifoy moved his practice out to the Mojave desert. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculpture on the desert floor. Constructed entirely from junked materials, this otherworldly environment is one of California’s great art historical wonders. –Source
The junkyard assemblage style makes it feel accessible to me. Like I could find a bunch of things from the sides of roads and ends of driveways and put together a masterpiece. The size and ability to respectfully interact with the works helps, too, without it turning into one of the recent interactive Instagram art sideshows (which I’m guilty of having participated in from many angles.)
Here are some images of my recent favorite pieces, and a few shots of me by Nate Abbott.