From the outset of his career, Puryear refused to give up what he knew and studied in order to align his work with the prevailing aesthetic. Some people believe they should do whatever it takes to fit in, while others accept that they will never fit in and do not try. There is the assimilationist who wants to be loved by everyone, and there is the person who knows that this kind of acceptance comes with a price. In Michael Brenson’s article, “Maverick Sculptor Makes Good” (New York Times Magazine, November 1, 1987), this is how Puryear described his response to Minimalism:
I never did Minimalist art. I never did, but I got real close….
I looked at it, I tasted it and I spat it out. I said, this is not
for me. I’m a worker. I’m not somebody who’s happy to
let my work be made for me and I’ll pass on it, yes or no,
after it’s done. I could never do that.