Purvis Young

"Mr. Young grew into something of an urban legend, a local celebrity, a frequent interview subject and an art-world star." -New York Times 

“His great ability was to twin urban contemporary culture with high-art motifs.” -Brooke Davis Anderson, former director and curator of the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan

"There is a storytelling aspect to his paintings; they resonate with the consequences of racism, the plight of the underprivileged, the atmosphere of daily violence, the world’s pervasive hypocrisy." -New York Times

  Purvis Young, (1943-2010) was a self-taught African-American painter and muralist from the underserved and overlooked Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida.  Reflecting his personal roots, his work grew to unlikely prominence on the “canvas” of everyday objects discarded and forgotten by others--plywood and cardboard, refrigerator doors, table tops, scraps of fabric and metal trays. His paintings make rich use of symbolism, such as angelic beings watching over the neighborhood, horses embodying freedom, and pregnant women delivering renewal. Prodigious and undeniably visionary, Purvis Young’s work represents the finest of urban expressionism, harnessing simplicity to communicate profound observations about American life. His work can be found at the Smithsonian American Art MuseumPhiladelphia Museum of ArtAmerican Folk Art Museum in Manhattan among many other notable public and private collections. For more information, please visit Souls Grown Deep. A foundation "dedicated to documenting, researching, preserving, and exhibiting the work of self-taught African American artists of the American South."

 

 

Sugarcane Magazine covers Purvis Young opening at the MOCA-- Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida.

Video excerpt from the full-length documentary,

"Purvis of Overtown.