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Martin Puryear (American, born in 1941)


Overall: 196.2 x 247 x 114.3 cm (77 1/4 x 97 1/4 x 45 in.) Weight (Combined weight of object and crate - approximate): 1135 lb. (514.83 kg) Weight (Object - approximate): 600 lb. (272.16 kg) Weight (Crate - approximate): 450 lb. (204.12 kg) Height x width (dimensions of wooden door - widest width): 59 x 37 in. (149.9 x 94 cm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wire mesh, staples, nails, steel rods, tar, various woods

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art



Puryear is known for shape-shifting, hand-hewn forms that evoke ideas of deliverance. Here the title suggests a secret or sacred interior space, like a Catholic confessional, where sins of the mind, body, and soul are laid bare. Does its hollowness seem heavy or uplifting, damning or saving? The artist deliberately seeks this ambiguity: “The most interesting art for me retains a flickering quality, where opposed ideas can be held in a tense coexistence.”


Consigned by the artist to the Donald Young Gallery, Chicago; 2007, sold by Donald Young Gallery to Mickey Cartin, Hartford, CT; 2012, consigned by Mickey Cartin to Barbara Krakow Gallery, Boston; 2012, sold by Barbara Krakow Gallery, and partial gift of Mickey Cartin, to the MFA . (Accession Date: December 12, 2012)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by the Ives Family Fund, Towles Contemporary Art Fund, Catherine and Paul Buttenwieser Fund, The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection, Joyce Linde, Carol Wall, and partial gift of Mickey Cartin