Who is Moe Brooker ?
Moe Brooker is an artist and teacher from Philadelphia, PA. He is the last born child in a family of 7, who grew up in West Philly. As an artist his earliest inspiration seeped into his being through music. As the child of a minister, the communication and expressive language of the Black church washed over him every Sunday. There was a difference in the language of sound, the cadence of the preacher’s sermon, the antiphonal replies of the congregation, and it all splashed together abstractly. He found the polyrhythmic hand clapping to both the music and the spoken word, abstract. People “shouted” because they were “happy” (in the spirit) and it became an explosive use of sound movement. In retrospect, I understand the cultural heritage that informed my thinking, visually. He was also inspired by his grandmother who lived a full century and four years. She would sit quietly in the living room making quilts. She pieced cloth of varying colors, sizes and shape, placed them together and amazed me with her sense of design and her incredible sensitivity in the selection of color, shape and pattern. I was struck by the common thread of artistry and abstract sense of her design to Asante Kente cloth. He realized with her quilt making she connected a particular use of form, shape and color which is a part of his heritage and that abstraction is a natural and visual thought process.
After high school he receiving his B.A. from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then a Masters of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Fine Arts, Temple University in 1972, he then joined the faculty at Tyler and taught for one year. In 1974, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, the following year he was invited to teach at the University of North Carolina at the senior rank of Associate Professor. From 1976 to 1985 he taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art as an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing. In 1985, he returning to Philadelphia and began teaching at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While on the faculty of the Academy, he was invited to teach at the Tianjin College of Fine Arts, in the city of Tianjin, in The Peoples Republic of China, for the fall semester of 1987. In 1990 he was offered and accepted the Chair of the Foundation Department at the Parson School of Design, New York City. At the end of the Academic year 1993/94 he resigned as chair and returned to Philadelphia. In 1995 he began teaching at Moore College of Art & Design, he began Chairing the Foundations Department in 2006 and he tired in 2012.
Moe Brooker is the recipient of several honors and awards including, the first Penny & Bob Fox Distinguished Professorship in 2011, The 2011 Legacy Ward from the African American Museum of Philadelphia; The Hazlett Memorial Award for the Artist of the year for the State of Pennsylvania also known as the Governor’s Award; Medal of Achievement presented by the Philadelphia Art Alliance The Artists Equity Award of the Greater Delaware Valley; an accepted invitation to Oxford University in the UK in 2006 and 2008; The 2009 David L. Temple Sr. and Helen J. Temple Visiting Scholar, Lafayette College; the 2004 Conrad Nelson Fellowship, the, Millersville University; 2003 Van Der Zee Award. Absolut Vodka commissioned an “Absolut Brooker” in 1992. He also has been listed in Who’s Who in American Art since 1999.
Mr Brooker presently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Cheryl, former Director of External Affairs at the Philadelphia Museum (now retired). In 2008 he was appointed by Mayor Nutter Chairman of the Philadelphia Art Commission, he is a visiting critic at PAFA his Alma Mata.