Noah Purifoy (1917–2004) was an African-American artist and co-founder of the Watts Towers Art Center. He is best known for his assemblage sculpture, including a body of work made from charred debris and wreckage collected after the Watts Riots of August 1965. Purifoy (along with artist Judson Powell) organized the exhibition 66 Signs of Neon, composed of roughly 50 works of art made from salvaged materials, to "interpret the August event." The exhibition premiered at Markham Junior High School (April 3–9, 1966) and traveled to nine state universities in California, eventually traveling to other venues throughout the United States.
Early life and education
Purifoy was born in Snow Hill, Alabama. In 1953, he moved to Los Angeles to attend Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts). Purifoy was the first African-American to enroll there as a full-time student and earned his BFA in 1956, just before his fortieth birthday.
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