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Wallace Berman papers, 1907-1979, bulk 1955-1979

Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976

Mail artist, Assemblage artist

Collection Information

Size: 5 linear feet

Summary: Letters, notes from an interview of Berman, art work, issues of Berman's underground publication Semina, and one of "S.M.S.", printed materials, photographs and audio tapes provide an overview of the career of California assemblage artist and beat poet Wallace Berman, as well as the "beat" movement in California in the late 1950s through the 1970s. Approximately two thirds of the collection consists of Berman's library - mostly poetry - including many first editions, by writers of the beat movement.

Biographical/Historical Note

Wallace Berman (1926-1976) was an assemblage artist and poet in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Born in Staten Island, N.Y., Berman moved to Los Angeles with his family in the 1930s. After being expelled from high school for gambling, he briefly attended the Jepson Art School and the Chouinard Art School. By the 1950s, he had become a full-time assemblage artist and produced a mail art publication Semina, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by Berman. In 1963, he permanently settled in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles and created verifax collages and rock assemblages.


Donated 1991 by Tosh Berman, Berman's son.