Artist. Visionary. Hipster. Mystic. Voracious consumer and conduit of modern culture. Wallace Berman immersed himself in all these guises, with a selftaught fervor and disarming sincerity. To those who know his artwork, he remains a uniquely prescient and compelling figure, even 50 years after his death in 1976, from a tragic accident caused by a drunk driver on the eve of his 50th birthday.
American art had been drawing from Sunday newspaper funnies in various ways long before Roy Lichtenstein’s painted comic books panels Popped onto the gallery scene. In 1950s New York, Robert Rauschenberg affixed Moon Mullins, Gasoline Alley, and Terry and the Pirates onto his paintings and assemblages, recontextualizing them with coded signals about his closeted desires.
Join us this time for a special episode dedicated to the influential Los Angeles artist Wallace Berman (1926-1976). Our guests are Hollywood gallerist Michael Kohn, who walks us through the retrospective exhibition “Wallace Berman—American Aleph,” on view at Kohn Gallery through June 25, 2016, and the artist’s son, the author and publisher Tosh Berman, talking about his father’s craft and character, and his importance in the mid-century West Coast cultural scene.