Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ladder for Booker T. Washington

I have seen the Martin Puryear sculpture "Ladder for Booker T. Washington" several times at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, even spent a good deal of time contemplating the piece when I visited the museum with my infant son while my wife attended a professional conference.

In a recent post contemplating the contradicitons of southern black folk art, Roger Reeves elucidates the meaning of this piece in striking relief. I am especially taken by the line he quotes from Terence Hayes' "Arbor for Butch":

This is what it means to believe in ascension and fear climbing.

I imagine that I'll spend a considerable amount of time in the kind of Keatsian rumination Roger describes in this post re-ordering my understanding of Washington, black art, and performance of identity. As Finnie might put it, "I'm still proccessing it."