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Wallace Berman
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Artist
    (February 18, 1926-February 18, 1976)
    Born in Staten Island, New York
    Painter, photographer and sculptor
    Known for creating collages of images photocopied from newspapers and magazines
    Called 'the father of assemblage art'
    Hand-printed the magazine 'Semina' (1955-64)
    Created the underground short film 'Aleph' by painting onto 8-mm film (1966)
    The New York Times described him as 'a classic California oddball.'
    He was expelled from high school for gambling on the grounds.
    His first (and only) gallery show came to a sudden end when the vice squad raided it and busted him for displaying obscene material (1957).
    When a bank offered to commission a work from him, he created an image of a woman giving a man a blow job superimposed over a bank statement. Not too surprisingly, the bank declined to buy it.
    He got into the kabbalah and began painting Hebrew letters on rocks.
    While working in a furniture factory, he created sculptures from pieces of scrap wood.
    He designed album covers for jazz artists, including Charlie Parker.
    His obscenity fine was paid by actor Dean Stockwell.
    Dennis Hopper cast him in a bit part in 'Easy Rider.'
    He was included on the cover of the Beatles's 'Sgt. Pepper' album.
    He was struck and killed by a drunk driver on his 50th birthday.

Credit: C. Fishel


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