Bengston, Billy Al
- Morgan Falconer
(b Dodge City, KA, June 7, 1934).
American painter. He studied at City College, Los Angeles (1953–5), California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA (1955–6) and Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (1956–7). Between 1961 and 1973 he lectured at various art colleges. After initially studying ceramics, Bengston began to concentrate on painting in 1956 and participated in the first group show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1957, which put him at the centre the region’s new avant-garde, alongside such figures as Ed Kienholtz and Ed Moses. He is best known for the elegiac, Dada-esque tone of his work in the 1960s, when he was heavily influenced by the motorbike and car culture of Southern California, from which he drew motifs such as chevrons, Draculas and love hearts. Mr. Britt (1960; see 1988 exh. cat, pl. 3) is typical in its placement of sergeant stripes in a square in the centre, surrounded by a flat covering of forest green. ...