A Conversation with Martin Puryear

June 27, 2018
7:00 p.m.

Martin Puryear | Big Bling, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2017.

The biennial Wendy Evans Joseph Lecture on Art and Architecture presents artists whose work is inspired by the built environment.

On June 27, sculptor Martin Puryear will discuss his work with Architectural League president Billie Tsien. An audience question-and-answer session will follow.

One of the nation’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Puryear is known for his devotion to craft and thoughtful exploration of history and culture.

Raised in Washington, DC, he graduated from Catholic University in 1963. After spending two years in Sierra Leone with the Peace Corps, Puryear studied at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art, then earned an MFA at Yale. He later taught in Nashville, Maryland, and Chicago and earned a Guggenheim fellowship to study architecture and garden design in Japan.

His many accolades include a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, a Gold Medal in Sculpture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a National Medal of Arts. Major retrospectives of his work have been mounted at MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other institutions.

Puryear’s public artworks include:

  • Big Bling, a large-scale installation first presented in Madison Square Park in 2016
  • Slavery Memorial, a 2014 sculpture at Brown University recognizing the school’s links to the slave trade
  • Bearing Witness, a monumental bronze sculpture installed outside DC’s Ronald Reagan Building in 1997.

This lecture is made possible by the Wendy Evans Joseph Lecture Fund of The Architectural League.

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union will host the event.

League programs are also made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Martin Puryear artworks