American, b. 1941
Maquette for Pavilion in the Trees, 1981
16 x 38 3/4 x 10 7/8 in. (40.6 x 98.4 x 27.6 cm)
© Martin Puryear, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
Photo by Jeffrey Jenkins
Pavilion in the Trees was commissioned by the Fairmont Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) in Philadelphia as part of their series Form and Function, which invited artists to create site-specific commissions for the park between 1980 and 1993. The work was constructed using three kinds of wood: debarked western red cedar, white oak, and redwood. The gridded canopy was built with the assistance of Bob Taylor, a woodworker who specialized in custom millwork. 

Puryear has said, “I would never insist that the Pavilion in the Trees be called sculpture. I would say that it is a public amenity designed by a sculptor, which tried to invest a public facility with a bit more poetry than it otherwise might have.” The spindly latticework of the process model conveys the airy, open sense of the final work, which rises twenty-four feet high in the middle of a group of trees, evoking the feeling of being in a treehouse. 

As with this work, Storm King’s Lookout similarly invites visitors into its interior, dissolving the boundaries between object and place.