Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum

Noah Purifoy (1917 - 2004) was an African-American artist and co-founder of the Watts Towers Art Center. He is best know for his "assemblage sculptures", including a body of work made from charred debris and wreckage collected after the Watts Riots of August 1965. In 1989, Mr. Purifoy moved from LA to Joshua Tree, CA.  During the last 15 years of his life, he filled 10 acres of his high desert landscape with "assemblage art", working with all kinds of materials, much of it discarded trash and random desert debris. I found it really interesting, and if you're in the area, it's well worth a visit.
This photo gives you a feel for what the property looks like... it goes on for 10 acres and includes all varieties of assemblage sculptures! And it's free, which is nice.
 I think this one is called "Voting Booth", which might give us a sense of Mr. Purifoy's views of our election process!
This one's called "Sixty-Five Aluminum Trays".
Called "No Contest", I like the way the bikes look against the desert sky.

Below is "Shelter", built from wood and debris salvaged from a neighbor's house in the desert that burned down.
Below are shots from inside "Shelter", a really strange assemblage of stuff.

Below is "Kirby Express", named from the old fashioned vacuum cleaners. There are also beer cans, a baby carriage, smudge pot and swamp cooler all mounted on bicycle wheels and affixed to a make-shift railroad track!
Hope you enjoyed this tour of the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. This is very unique. I can't remember seeing or even hearing about something similar in Sweden. I like your presentation of the artists work.

  2. This is one amazing scene. I'm in awe.

  3. It look great. That you can collect so much stuff in the desert is already a miracle

  4. My kind of art. I did not know about this. Definitely something I will search out the next time I am in the deserts of southern California.

  5. The voting booth is awesome! Loved them all though. What creativity!

  6. Wow that is interesting Ill have to put that on my bucket list. Love the bikes and trays! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Trying to get back into the groove :)

  7. I love these unique setups especially against your blue skies. Loved the Vacuum series.

  8. This is fascinating and very definitely new to me ... we completely missed it when we were in the area. Another reason to come back (I live in hope). What an interesting man Mr Purifoy must have been.

  9. the hubby would love this place. so creative. ( :