Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996)
For Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996), a 36-foot-tall wooden sculpture in Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s permanent collection, Martin Puryear came up with the title after the work was completed.
“The resonance with his life and his struggle, and the whole notion that his idea of progress for the race was a long, slow progression of, as he said, ‘putting your buckets down where you are and working with what you’ve got,'” said Puryear in our “Time” episode, “it really is a question of the view from where you start and the end—the goal.”
Deepen your connection to Art21
Theaster Gates establishes a virtuous circle between fine art and social progress
Theaster Gates transforms the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for the community.
“It is so evident that when art is present, things are better, even in the toughest circumstances,” says Gates. “I’m asking questions of what the Black world might look like if we invested in it, if we gave a damn.”
Recommendations from Art21
Read: My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
Shared by Erin Shafkind, Art21 Educators alumnus and public high school educator from Seattle, Washington; Available now from your retailer of choice
Listen: Return of the Boom Bap by KRS-One
Shared by Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital; Available now on your streaming platform of choice
Watch: I May Destroy You
Shared by Meghan Garven, Development and Administrative Coordinator; Now streaming on HBO (with subscription)
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