Ericka Beckman, You The Better (1983/2015), installation view Less Than One at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photo: Gene Pittman

Ericka Beckman

Game Mechanics

July 6 – September 3, 2017

The film and video works of US American artist Ericka Beckman focuses on games and sport competitions and their rules as well as featuring the playing field as an allegory for the development and maintenance of socio-cultural norms.

Beckman, who is recognised today as an important representative of the so-called picture generation, studied in the 1970s at the famous Californian Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) in John Baldessari’s Post Studio class. The New York No Wave scene with their cross-over mediums was a further important influence on her as was the work of Jean Piaget, the cognitive development psychologist. She has frequently cooperated with artists of her own generation such as Mike Kelley, Matt Mullican, Tony Oursler or James Welling.

Beckman’s films are generally structured like games. The narrative develops out of the subject matter: accumulation, competition and the organisation of thoughts and memories by means of rules, symbols and symbolic thought. The protagonists are not actors but act as players. In the process the artist reflects on new and emerging technical advancements such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and computer games, something she has done from very early on in their development.


Ericka Beckman, born in 1951 in Hempstead (New York, USA), lives and works in New York City.