Sherman Beck

(American, b. 1942)
Untitled, 1972
Museum purchase with funds from the Binghamton Fund

Beck was an early member of the Chicago-based AfriCOBRA collective (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) which was established in 1968 as a culmination of a series of collective actions and solidarities by Black artists in Chicago in the late 1960s. Focusing on positive images and humanism, AfriCOBRA centered African-American people as the subject matter and arbiters of Black art. Reflecting on this for their first exhibition (of which Beck was a participant), AfriCOBRA co-founder Jeff Donaldson wrote “Our people are our standard of excellence. We strive for images inspired by African people/experience and images which African people can relate to directly without formal art training and/or experience.” While this print was created a few years after Beck left the group to pursue a degree in plastic and graphic arts at the University of Illinois Chicago, it still embodies these ideals. The three faces, suggest a multiplicity of paths forward, while the figure in the foreground crouches, full of potential energy. 


—Claire L. Kovacs, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions

This print is currently on view in the “Big Prints” exhibition In the Mezzanine Gallery through May 14, 2022.


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Last Updated: 3/30/22