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Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Museum of Contemporary Art, West by Midwest, Chicago featuring Billy Al Bengston's The Alamo

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
West by Midwest
Following crisscrossing lines of kinship, West by Midwest reveals social, political, artistic, and intellectual networks of artists and their shared experiences of making work and making a life.

Western art history is often viewed as a neat succession of individual artists and their singular masterpieces. This narrative runs parallel to the American story of westward expansion, propelled by the idea of individualism and independence. West by Midwest offers a messier alternative—one that illuminates the ways that contemporary art practices spread and develop by tracing the intersecting lives of artists who have migrated from the American Midwest to the West Coast since the mid-20th century.

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Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, 2019, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985
With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 is the first full-scale scholarly survey of this groundbreaking American art movement.

Though little studied today, the Pattern and Decoration movement was institutionally recognized, critically received, and commercially successful from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The overwhelming preponderance of craft-based practices and unabashedly decorative sensibilities in art of the present-day point to an influential P&D legacy that is ripe for consideration.

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Artnet News

Billy Al Bengston, Carburetor Floatbowl, 1961

Artnet News
Billy Al Bengston Cements His Legacy at Venus Over Manhattan
The West Coast legend is showing in New York.

Bengston’s importance and impact on the Los Angeles art scene cannot be overstated: he was one of the original Ferus Gallery artists working alongside West Coast luminaries such as Ed Ruscha, Ken Price, Edward Kienholz, Dennis Hopper, Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, and others.

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Biography

Biography

Billy Al Bengston racing at Whitman Speedway Stadium, Pacoima, CA, 1964

Billy Al Bengston was born in 1934 in Dodge City, Kansas and moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1948. He studied painting under Richard Diebenkorn at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. In 1957, Bengston began showing with the Ferus Gallery (founded and run by Walter Hopps, Edward Kienholz, and Irving Blum), participating in solo and group exhibitions regularly until the gallery closed in 1966. Bengston has had major solo presentations at the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. His work is included in a number of important public collections including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Chicago Art Institute; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Bengston retains friendships with international art world celebrities including Frank Gehry and Ed Ruscha, as well as local Los Angeles legends such as Sonny Nutter. He lives and works in Venice, California.

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