Billy Al Bengston: Paintings & Watercolors
The first monograph on the Californian Pop Artist since more than thirty years with a representative selection of works from 1957 to 2014
Billy Al Bengston is the very personifi cation of the cheerful, carefree attitude towards life in Califor-nia — with his work as well as his person: a former surfer and motorcycle racer, an extravagant artist and key fi gure of West Coast Pop Art.
After studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Otis Art Institute, he exhibited at the legendary Ferus Gallery in 1957 and was the central fi gure among a group of artists that included Frank Gehry, Edward Kienholz, Ed Ruscha, and Ken Price. BAB, as he apostrophizes himself, inserts car
and motorcycle parts as motifs into his otherwise abstract paintings, using lacquer and spray paint instead of oil, and aluminum panels with at times dented surfaces instead of the traditional canvas. Art and lifestyle combine to create the individual
“Bengston iconography” of California Cool.