The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) congratulates artist Martin Puryear (b. 1941) for being chosen to represent the United States at the 2019 Venice Biennale, according to an announcement made today by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Madison Square Park Conservancy and reported by numerous media outlets.
PAFA currently has 25 works by the 77-year old African American artist and sculptor in its permanent collection, in keeping with the institution's commitment to collecting and exhibiting work by women artists, artists of color and artists often overlooked by the art world.
Two works, acquired by the Museum in 2017, include Side (Beijing), 2013, color hard ground etching with aquatint and drypoint; and Phrygian (Cap in the Air), 2012, color soft ground etching with spitbite, aquatint and drypoint. Puryear is known for his devotion to traditional craft and his large-scale works in wood, bronze, and other media.
PAFA also recently added 23 prints by Puryear to its permanent collection, 20 of them acquired from its recent partnership with Paulson Fontaine Press, making PAFA the East Coast repository for editions by African American artists.
Puryear will create new site-specific works for the United States Pavilion at the Biennale, including sculpture for its galleries and an outdoor installation in the forecourt, according to The New York Times. The Biennale will run from May 11, 2019, through November 24, 2019.
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.