Charles Beck: 1923-2017

December 1, 2017 - February 6, 2018

The Ruth and Seymour Landfield Atrium

In 2017, the Northern Plains lost one of its most beloved artists – Charles Beck – at the age of 94, leaving an unrivaled artistic legacy. Beck attended Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) where he furthered his artistry under the influential painter Cy Running. His art studies were interrupted by World War II, where he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps to train as a pilot. On home for leave, Beck would marry Joyce Hagge, his wife of 69 years. The couple settled in Fergus Falls (MN), where Charles would become a sign painter, and eventually teach art for 28 years, at what is now Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Beck’s influence would be felt for decades to come, fueling an artistic renaissance on and off campus. As a life-long wood-carving printmaker and sculptor, as well as a skilled painter, Beck’s creative life epitomized his never ending work ethic. It was nature that inspired his unmistakable work, which distilled the complexity of the landscape to its essential shapes and colors. This earthiness is combined with a flat, modern aesthetic that inexplicably retains a sentimental quality. “Art is a lot like life,” Beck said to the Fargo Forum in 2013, “It’s a lot of little things that happen that you never planned on that can be nice, but you can’t sit back and wait for luck to take hold. You get lucky in the process.”

  • Charles Beck Winter 2, 1974 Woodblock Permanent Collection

Ongoing Exhibitions

City Geode

Ongoing
City Geode
S.P.A.C.E. Sculpture

City Geode, created and installed in May 2019 by students and Professor Josh Zeis from NDSU is the latest creation. In response to the work, the lead artists said, “What is a city? This City Geode incorporates many of the things that we thought a city needs; buildings, streets, electricity, drainage, and above all else, the human spirit.

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Bee in Flight

Ongoing
Bee in Flight

Community artist and school art teacher MeLissa Kossick, who guides youth classes at the Museum on art, gardens, and pollinators, has created an enchanting mosaic design in the Creativity Pathway in the Serkland Gallery called Bee in Flight.

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The North Dakota Mural

Ongoing
The North Dakota Mural

Drawing on his childhood memories of the Great Plains, he created a work that speaks to the wide open spaces, huge vistas, and ocean-like skies of the region.

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Fragile Preservation

Ongoing
Fragile Preservation
A Tallgrass Community

While the Tallgrass Prairie is a community made up of a great diversity of species, Fragile Preservation represents a selection of them.

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