“Noah Purifoy (1917-2004) was an important and well-known ﬁgure in Los Angeles. He was an artist, an activist, a social worker and an educator. In 1965, he used burned-out debris from the Watts riots to create what would become his best-known sculptural assemblage.
Born in poverty to sharecroppers in Snow Hill, Ala., he was one of 13 siblings. During World War II, he served with the United States Navy as a Seabee, and in 1953, he became the first African American to enroll at Chouinard Art Institute (now called CalArts) as a full-time student. He earned his BFA in 1956.
In 1989, Purifoy moved to a friend’s trailer Joshua Tree—and the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Art would be born. The museum today occupies 10 acres, and includes hundreds of his assemblage sculptures, keeping alive his legacy of social activism. The museum was recently accepted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation into its prestigious Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS) program…”