Saturday, August 23, 2014

Adam Purple book at Phoenix Art Museum

The Garden of Eden, 1979 by Harvey Wang

Adam Purple  and The Garden of Eden, 1982 by Harvey Wang
Adam Purple & The Garden of Eden by Amy Brost with photographs by Harvey Wang is included in an exhibition of self-published photobooks in the Doris and John Norton Gallery for the Center for Creative Photography at the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona.  INFOCUS, the Photography Support Organization of Phoenix Art Museum, invited photographers to send examples of their self-published photo books. The exhibition explores the range of ways artists are using newly available commercial technologies in order to make books. The jury chose 151 books from 15 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia to be displayed. See more about the exhibition at

The book is about Adam Purple, who in 1975 set out to plant a garden behind his tenement building at 184 Forsyth Street, at a time when the Lower East Side was a crime-ridden wasteland. It was a massive undertaking. While clearing nearly 5,000 cubic feet of debris using only simple tools and raw muscle power, Adam began to create his own topsoil from materials he found at the site and around the city. By 1986, his world famous eARThWORK had grown to 15,000 square feet. Adam 'zenvisioned' the Garden expanding until it replaced the skyscrapers of New York. For Adam Purple--social activist, philosopher, and urban
gardener/ revolutionary—the Garden was the medium of his political and artistic expression. When the Garden was slated for demolition to make way for a housing project, many prominent New Yorkers wrote letters and made statements of support for Adam and the Garden. Nevertheless, The Garden of Eden was razed on January 8, 1986, and the new housing project did not include an apartment for Adam or space for a new garden. In terms of his revolutionary ideas about sustainability and living as humble members of the natural world, Adam was ahead of his time. He has not yet been properly recognized as an important environmental artist.

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