Martin Puryear
Malediction, 2006-2007

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Martin Puryear
Date created
red cedar, pine, black locust, ash, and rattan
125 1/2 in. × 59 1/2 in. × 25 5/8 in. (318.77 cm × 151.13 cm × 65.09 cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© Martin Puryear
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 4 as part of Freeform: Experiencing Abstraction

Audio Stories

Pagan minister Tristy Taylor on this work’s spiritual aura

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SFX: Music, single strain. To evoke being alone with old trees. Punctuates & creates breath between thoughts 



There’s a mystery in it, and that’s so evocative of the spiritual world for me. My name is Tristy Taylor, and I am an ordained interfaith minister, an artist, and I have always had a nature-based spirituality ever since I was a child. 

The first thing that strikes me is the size. That it is larger than a human. And the fact that it’s hanging on the wall gives it this portal quality, as if we could literally step into it. And, in fact, there is this little piece that protrudes, that is kind of like an offering for us to step into the piece of art but it’s not direct. It’s at an angle. So it’s almost like it’s got a little sort of, like: Are you going to do it, are you going to step into this piece or not? 

Wood is one of the first mediums that spiritual ritual objects were made with. It holds energy for a long time. And it’s very interesting that the piece is made with so many different kinds of wood. He’s gathering all of these different kinds of wood together in one piece, and that’s really sacred magic. 

SFX: Music punctuates & ends 

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