Unique artist's book by this self-taught African American folk artist, assembled in an entirely altered copy of Young People's Story of Our Heritage: The Americas (Meredith Press, 1966).
Purvis Young was long known as a noted folk and outsider artist in his native Florida, where he worked in the historically African American Overtown neighborhood of Miami. Inspired by murals in cities like Detroit and Chicago, in the 1970s Purvis began painting and nailing his works up along a vacant street in the city called Goodbread Alley. The location became something of a tourist destination as Purvis's reputation grew and by the 1980s Purvis was also creating artist's and altered books like this one, vibrantly blending collage with other media while engaging not only with African American themes and motifs, but with the broader history of the United States and its legacies — as here. "People Whit Something To Do" includes many of the emblems and figures who would become almost totemic in his work: basketball players (who represented beauty and freedom to the artist), television-headed creatures (their opposite), people burdened with heavy objects, dancing, etc. The effect is kinetic and improvisational but somehow never random or noisy.
Purvis was the subject of the 2006 documentary PURVIS OF OVERTOWN and his work is among the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian — as well as numbering among his fans and collectors Lenny Kravitz, David Byrne (who used one of Purvis's pieces for the cover of his album AMERICAN UTOPIA), Damon Wayans, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Jane Fonda.
A striking folk book examining not only American history, but questioning the very ways in which we teach it. An object that rewards further study.
[Miami, Florida]: [ca. 1981-88]. 11'' x 8.5'' x 2''. Collaged boards.  pages over 62 leaves heavily collaged both recto and verso with a wide variety of mixed media art (ball point pen, crayon, marker, various paints). Edges worn; Two pages stuck together along bottom edge, but contents largely viewable. Binding straining from contents, but surprisingly sound.
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