Treasures of the Swope

Billy Morrow Jackson
Symmetrical Man: Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, 1968
Gift of Howard E. Wooden 1990.13

Billy Morrow Jackson’s (Kansas City, Missouri 1926 – 2006 Urbana, Illinois) Protest Drawings were made in 1963-64 in response to the Birmingham, AL church bombing and the killing of several civil rights workers in Mississippi. In 1965, Jackson published a series of offset lithographic reproductions of the drawings, with all proceeds donated to various civil rights organizations. When starting on this portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson was struck by the unusual symmetry of King’s face. Never one to miss metaphor or the opportunity for additional meaning in a work, he saw the symmetry as a stand-in for MLK’s broadened vision of freedom, reaching out to embrace all those who suffer disadvantage in modern society, a vision beyond race. Printed three years after the first set of prints, the proceeds from this specific print went towards raising funds to provide financial aid to students from lower income families to attend the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where Jackson taught for 30 years.

Click here to read more about this work of art. 

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Happening Now at the Swope:


James C. Pearson

Education Gallery

January 22 – March 14

Signs is a portfolio of ten photographs taken in New York City of frayed and layered posters and billboards. The History of fragmented images and words creates a new image, flattened by the media of black and white photography.



The 100th Anniversary of the Rorschach Test

2nd Floor Lobby Gallery

January 29 – May 9

In 1921, Hermann Rorschach wrote his book Psychodiagnostik, containing the results of his studies on mental patients, and the ten cards that became the foundation of the Rorschach test. While still a medical student, he wondered why different people saw different t hings in art, and began showing inkblots to children and analyzing their responses. View ten selections from the Swope’s permanent collection. What do you see?

Lasting Impressions:

A Silver Anniversary Exhibition of the Stephen W. and Mary M. Pruitt Collection

Hulman and Schell Galleries

February 5 – March 21, 2021

25 Years after sharing their collection for the first time, the Pruitts bring their collection of American and European prints and examples of early photography by American masters back to the Swope. Ranging from an 1825 William Blake to a photograph from 1959 by Minor White, only 17 works from the 1996 exhibition remain, while they have added nearly 60 more.


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