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The Petition

1990 Sam Gilliam Born: Tupelo, Mississippi 1933 mixed media assembled: 96 x 60 x 32 in. (243.8 x 152.4 x 81.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the James F. Dicke Family © 1990, Sam Gilliam 2006.38A-G Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Gilliam laid down thick paint color over color and then raked the surface to reveal the multiple hues beneath. Edges are crisp and three-dimensional. Arches intersect and reach out, articulating positive form and empty space before spiraling back to draw the viewer into the work’s industrial physicality. The Petition reflects a world created by man. Its materials – sheet metal, aluminum honeycomb, and industrial-weight paint – allowed no accidents in its construction.


African Amderican Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

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painting