Shown in 1972 at the De Luxe Black Arts Center in Houston, one of the first U.S. exhibition spaces to place the work of artists of color alongside that of their white peers, Power Flight takes an experimental approach to painting, moving it off the wall and into three-dimensional space. Freed from the confines of a stretcher, the canvas, composed of five connected triangles, is pulled taut by ropes. The resulting shape suggests nomadic shelters, easily assembled and disassembled by individuals fleeing harm. Using the colors of the Pan-African flag, Joe Overstreet connects metaphors of flight and nomadism to transnational struggles for black liberation.
Committed to both experimental art-making and socio-political engagement, the artist notes that his life and work have been "tied up in abstract shape with what black [people] have felt and struggled." In 1973 he and his wife founded Kenkeleba House, a New York gallery focused on artists underrepresented by mainstream institutions.
Acrylic on canvas with metal grommets and white rope
This item is not on view
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John de Menil
© Joe Overstreet
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Joe Overstreet (American, 1933-2019). Power Flight, 1971. Acrylic on canvas with metal grommets and white rope Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John de Menil, 72.165. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.165_view1_PS2.jpg)
installation, 72.165_view1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.