Judith Ann Moriarty
One Piece at a Time

“Maroon” at MAM

By - Oct 5th, 2011 04:00 am
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“Maroon,” Martin Puyear. Photo by Jennell Jenney

Say it isn’t so. Yes, Martin Puyear’s “Maroon,” (1987-88) is a beautiful bundle of tar, mesh, etc., and yes, it certainly is minimalist, and therefore one would think installing it in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Minimalist and Conceptual Gallery, was the right choice.

Not so. It looks crowded and cowed, as if it’s bulbous shape of steel, wire mesh, wood and tar was squeezed into place. I greatly admire this particular sculpture by a fine American artist, and I yearned for it during the time it was loaned out. When it came home to MAM, it looked contented, and I felt better….temporarily.

Because it is such a heavy presence, at 76 x 120 x 78 inches, it currently overpowers the delicate objects surrounding it. According to MAM’s web site, Puyear intended it to look “vulnerable;” instead, the objects it shares space with look vulnerable.

Odd isn’t it, how we become attached to our favorite objects and resent it when they are moved?

All three floors of the north end of the Kahler/Saarinen complex are being refurbished, so perhaps “Maroon” is merely marooned temporarily, beached and waiting to be transported to a more suitable space. I hope so.

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Categories: A/C Feature 3, Art

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