Holy Barbarians, Beatman, it’s Semina!

by Yule Heibel on April 17, 2004

Inspired by Tom Shugart‘s April 12 entry Howling Recollections, I decided to revisit one of my favourite beats, Wallace Berman. I love Berman’s work, how it flies below the radar, side-steps co-optation, attracts and repulses simultaneously, destabilising the viewer and the society it was made in while still using all the flotsam and jetsam — and the hardwired mythologies — of the society at hand. It’s ephemera, but it’s semina, flowing outward, still fertilising minds everywhere. It’s way cool.

From this page, a wonderful tribute to Wallace Berman by his son Tosh — read the whole thing, but here’s a quote I especially liked:

My father was fanatical about perfection. That perfection means his artwork. Dad never took himself seriously; in fact he was really goofy. But when it comes to his art, he was extremely serious. Wallace was particularly picky about who buys his work. For instance a bank wanted to purchase a piece by my Dad for their corporate art collection, and he said sure. What he did was made a piece called ‘Bank Statement’ with an image of a woman giving a man a blowjob superimposed over a bank statement. For some odd reason, the bank refused to purchase the artwork. Too bad, because I am sure it would have been a great conversation starter in that bank’s next board meeting. [More….]


Anonymous April 19, 2004 at 12:31 pm


Yule Heibel April 19, 2004 at 11:31 pm

Glad you liked that one, Bruce. Are you and Ray still gone fishin’?

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