Sherman Fleming

Codewords Series
Infinite Desire Series



Sherman Fleming has investigated the body gesture in a series of performances entitled States of Suspense. The performances utilize childhood games, ritual, and dance actions as derived from African, and Black Atlantic traditions. The body gestures, albeit uniquely male, employ rudimentary strategies of balance, instability, duration, and stamina. The action to achieve and maintain balance, over time, is a metaphor for the maintenance of a position within culture that may be described as "impeccable"-meaning, the ability to remain self-possessed and authentic within the social and institutionalized construct of racism and sexism. Fleming defines this bodily behavior as "psycho-physical," a behavior that operates through the act of repetition and whose duration is determined by the body's stamina.

List of performances with photos

Links to videos


Pretending To Be Rock:

The Making of Steam:

Coming Soon:

Published References
Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings (Second Edition, Revised and Expanded by Kristine Stiles) by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz
• Warr, Tracey ed., Jones Amelia ed. The Artist’s Body (Themes and Movements). Phaidon Press. 2000.
• Schimmel, Paul ed. OUT OF ACTIONS: Between Performance and the Object, 1949 - 1979. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Thames & Hudson Ltd. London. 1998.
• Riggs, Thomas, ed., St. James Guide to Black Artists, St. James Press. 1997.
• Powell, Richard J., Black Art & Culture in the 20th Century. Thames & Hudson Ltd. London. 1997.
• Driskell, David ed. African-American Visual Aesthetics: A Post-Modernist View. Smithsonian Press. 1995.
• Outside the Frame: Performance and the Object. Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. 1994.
• Carr, C. On Edge: Performance at the End of the 20th Century. Wesleyan University Press. 1993.


Cold Sweat

earlier works (visual art)


Sherman Fleming