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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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