Howie Becker: POT GUY

Howard Becker is still around today. He studied at SFAI with Phil Perkis and Jerry Burchard in the early 1970s. Here is 1972 photo of student Howie Becker by Steve Gach. Poster by Lex Calip, 2017, “Just Ask Howie”.

Howie Becker played jazz piano on Chicago's South Side as a teenager in the 1940s. He then received his Phd in Sociology from the University of Chicago, where he published the first scholarly article on marihuana use rather than marihuana’s abuse  titled, “Becoming a Marihuana User,” American Journal of Sociology(November, 1953).  He also curated the 1982 exhibition Exploring Society Photographically at SFAI’s Emmanuel Walter Gallery… Howie lives part time in Paris but most of the time on Lombard Street around the corner from the School.  In 2017, as noted above, in the wonderful “Just Ask Howie” poster by Lex Calip, Becker offered his 4/20 thoughts about Jazz, sub-cultures, sociology, and his key book for artists,  Art Worlds (UC Press).

Here’s a link to Adam Gopnik’s profile about Howie Becker “The Outside Game” in the January 12, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.

Other books authored by Howie Becker are:

--Art Worlds: 25th Anniversary Edition (University of California Press, 2008).

--Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance (Free Press, 1963, new edition, 2018). The 2018 version of Outsiders has two new chapters including Becker's "Why I Am Not the Reason Marijuana is Being Legalized."

--Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You're Doing It (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing, 1998).

--What About Mozart? What about Murder? (University of Chicago Press, 2014).

--“Becoming a Marihuana User,” American Journal of Sociology (November, 1953), which was republished by the University of Chicago Press in 2015.

With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.

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