An interview of Billy Al Bengston conducted 1980 September 9, by Susan Larsen, for the Archives of American Art.
Bengston speaks of his youth and education, the development of his interest in art, his short career in ceramics, his affiliation with the Ferus Gallery, the arts community in Los Angeles in the early 1950s, and his motives and methods of painting. He recalls Kenneth Price and Edward Ruscha.
Biographical / Historical:
Billy Al Bengston (1934- ) is a painter from Venice, California.
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 20 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
An interview of Henry Tyler Hopkins conducted 1980 Oct. 24-1980 Dec. 17, by Wesley Chamberlin, for the Archives of American Art.
Hopkins speaks of his childhood and family background in Idaho; his education in Idaho and at the Art Institute of Chicago; his U.S. Army service as a photographer; the influence upon him of the early abstract expressionists; moving to California and getting involved in the museum community; working as a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and developing its collection of modern works; becoming the director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the value of art appreciation over art entertainment; problems with corporate and federal support; the psychological aspects of Jackson Pollack's work; pop art; the Bay area art scene; and the role of art museums. He recalls Shirley and Walter Hopps, Ed Ruscha, Joe Goode, Larry Bell, Ed Bereal, Ron Miyashiro, Jackson Pollack, Joseph Cornell, Billy Al Bengston, Kenny Price, Robert Irwin, William Copley, Franz Kline, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Henry Hopkins (1928-2009) was a director of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Photographs of artists, many from the San Francisco Bay Area, taken by Mimi Jacobs.
Artists photographed: Ansel Adams, Robert Arneson, Ruth Asawa, Billy Al Bengston, Fletcher Benton, Robert Bechtle, J. B. Blunk, William Brice, Joan Brown, Imogen Cunningham, Jay De Feo, Eleanor Dickinson, Richard Diebenkorn, Laddie John Dill, Archeliat Esherick, Sam Francis, David Gilhooly, Joseph Goldyne, Robert Graham, Henry Hopkins, Robert B. Howard, John Ihle, Robert Irwin, Allen Jones, Alvin Light, Lee Mullican, Isamu Noguchi, Howard Paris, Joseph Raffael, Fred Reichman, Ed Ruscha, Betye Saar, Raymond Saunders, Richard Shaw, Louis Siegriest, Nell Sinton, Wayne Thiebaud, DeWain Valentine, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, Peter Voulkos, William T. Wiley, Emerson Woelffer.
Photographs of Mark Adams, William Allan, Jeremy Anderson, Ruth Armer, Charles Arnoldi, Dennis Beall, Bruce Beasley, Tony Berlant, Elmer Bischoff, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago, Bruce Conner, Roy de Forest, Tony DeLap, Guy Dill, Claire Falkenstein, Gerald Gooch, Russell Gordon, Wally Hedrick, Tom Holland, Robert Hudson, Robert Emory Johnson, Frank Lobdell, Robert Craig Kaufman, Richard McLean, Bill Martin, Manuel Neri, Bruce Nauman, Nathan Oliveira, Mel Ramos, Sam Richardson, Michael Todd, Julius Wasserstein, Paul Wonner and Norman Zammitt.
In 1999, additional photographs were donated including many duplicates of the previous donations. These include 50 mounted photographs of West Coast artists, twenty-four of which were exhibited in 1980 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and published in 50 West Coast Artists: A Critical Selection of Painters and Sculptors (1981, Chronicle Books). Photographs are of Ansel Adams, Robert Arneson, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Bechtle, Fletcher Benton, J. B. Blunk, William Brice, Joan Brown, Imogen Cunningham, Jay De Feo, Eleanor Dickinson, Richard Diebenkorn, Laddie John Dill, Archeliat Esherick, Sam Francis, David Gilhooly, Joseph Goldyne, Robert Graham, Henry Hopkins, Robert Howard, John Ihle, Robert Irwin, Allen Jones, Alvin Light, Lee Mullican, Isamu Noguchi, Howard Paris, Joseph Raffael, Fred Reichman, Ed Ruscha, Betye Saar, Richard Shaw, Louis Siegrist, Nell Sinton, Wayne Thiebaud, De Wain Valentine, Leo Valledor, Carlos Villa, Peter Voulkos, William Wiley, and Emerson Woeffer.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer; Kentfield, Calif.; b. 1911; d. April 1, 1999. Known in the San Francisco Bay Area for her portraits of prominent local figures, many of whom were artists. She eventually expanded her scope beyond Northern California to included artists in the Los Angeles region as well. These images were widely reproduced in books and in exhibitions and in many cases became the portraits by which the individuals were best known. Among her subjects were Ed Ruscha, Robert Graham, Peter Voulkos, Joan Brown, Isamu Noguchi, Jay DeFeo, Wayne Thiebaud, Imogen Cunningham, and Richard Diebenkorn. Several exhibitions were devoted to the photographs as independent works of art, an acknowledgement of their pictorial qualities as well as their value as documents.
Donated 1976-1992 by Mimi Jacobs. Additional photos, many of them duplicates of previous donations, were donated in 1999 by Leslie Fleming, Jacobs' daughter, for the Estate.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.