Desert AIR

Joshua Tree in Mojave Desert in California is said to be a real magnet for artists. The specific nature, light, calmness and wilderness attract artists from all over the world and if you are lucky, you could get on one of the Artist-In-Residence (AIR) programs offered. Imagine a house in the desert, a studio to work in, and vaste surroundings to be productive in…

American artist Noah Purifoy (1917–2004) was one of these artists, based in Los Angeles but decided to move to Joshua Tree in 1989. He is said to be one of the most profound Assemblage sculptors, was a founding member of the California Arts Council, founding member of Watts Towers Arts Center in the 1960s, and an administrator of the Artist in Communities Programs.

If you come to Joshua Tree, drive till the end of the paved Yucca Mesa Road, continue the dirt road, take a left on another dirt road, you finally see the small sign welcoming you to Noah’s Art Site, kept by Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture.

Take a right and you are there. Noah Purifoy spent thirteen years to fill the ten acres of desert with his art work of assemblage sculptures of all types of materials. Around fifty pieces of work is placed around in the sand, among hot dry winds and wild chipmunks building their nests in the few bushes around.

You can see his work Earth Piece (1999) where he uses material from the ground, and From the point of view of the little people (1994) a work that is the result of his interest in how nature participates in and is intricate to the creative process and perhaps also from his own up-growing with a family of thirteen people in a two room flat.

In the mountain you see amazing granite rock formations, and the thoughts go to the granite rocks of the West Coast in Sweden, where artists have settled to work with stone sculpting, among many other materials, and as Noah Purifoy’s museum, struggle with being visable in the outskirts of the big cities.

For the West Coast of Sweden Artist Collective Workshop visit here. For Artists-In-Residence programs in Joshua Tree, visit here and here. If you are visiting the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum, make an appointment before hand on the website!

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