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Purvis Young
Untitled
about 1988
acrylic on plywood
40 1/2 x 48 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum



"The street is real life … you come out here and feel the workings of the world … that's all you need to be an artist." Purvis Young uses materials, subjects, and insights gathered from the streets of Overtown, a black neighborhood in Miami's inner city, to explore a broad range of issues within American society. Here turbulence swirls around horses that stand their ground as symbols of beauty, freedom, and power, while human figures lie prone in defeat and gesture in protest, supplication, or despair.