Martin Puryear to represent US at Venice Biennale 2019

Martin Puryear, Big Phrygian, 2010–14, painted red cedar, 147 × 102 × 193 cm. Photo: Ron Amstutz. Courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York & Los Angeles Martin Puryear, 2017, installation view at Parasol Unit. Courtesy the artist and Parasol Unit

Madison Square Park Conservancy (MSPC) and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs have jointly announced that Martin Puryear has been selected to represent the US at the 58th edition of Venice Biennale next year. The US pavilion, where Puryear will present his work, will be curated by Brooke Kamin Rapaport (deputy director and Martin Friedman senior curator of MSPC). According to a press release on the announcement, next year’s US pavilion will be the first time the exhibition is organised by an institution ‘whose visual arts program is focused exclusively on public art’. In 2016, Puryear was commissioned by MSPC to create a public art installation for New York’s Madison Square Park. For the US pavilion, Puryear will create an entirely new body of work, including sculptures and a site-specific installation for the pavilion’s forecourt. Regarding the selection of Puryear, Rapaport has commented: ‘Martin Puryear confronts contemporary issues as a maker of objects in the studio. For more than five decades, Puryear has created a body of work distinguished by a complex visual vocabulary and deeply-considered meaning. His exacting method and subtle power of nuance has influenced generations of artists in the U.S. and internationally’. As well as presenting the exhibition at the pavilion, MSPC and Puryear will also initiate an outreach programme to work with underprivileged youth through ‘a collaboration between Studio in a School, New York, and Istituto Santa Maria Della Piet, Venice’.

16 August 2018