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Confessional

1996–2000
Martin Puryear (American, born in 1941)


Dimensions

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

2012.1019

Medium or Technique

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

On View

Ives Family Gallery (Gallery 263)

Collections

Americas, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Sculpture

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.”

Provenance

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