Museu Berardo
Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal
Fundação Berardo

Copyright the Artist
 Berman, Wallace (1926 - 1976)

Silence Series No. 3, 1967

Collage on Verifax;
61 x 66 cm

UID 102-859


Wallace Berman was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York. In the 1930s, his family moved to the Jewish district in Los Angeles. In the early 1940s, Berman immersed himself in the growing West Coast jazz scene. During this period, he briefly attended the Jepson Art School and Chouinard Art School, but departed when he found the training too academic for his needs. In 1949, while working in a factory finishing antique furniture, he began to make assemblages from unused scraps and reject materials. By the early 1950s, Berman had become a full-time artist and an active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many art historians consider him to be the 'father' of the California assemblage movement. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication SEMINA, printing poems, photographs, collages, and drawings by himself and others on a handpress and assembling them in envelopes and containers. Titled Semina, there “periodicals” which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images, were given away to friends rather than sold. Wallace Berman was one of the Beat artists most admired by his peers. Berman died in Topanga Canyon in 1976 at the age of fifty. His art embodied the kind of interdisciplinary leanings and interests that, in time, would come to help characterize the Beat movement as a whole.

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