The Easel

Archives: Unframed

22nd November 2022

In Memoriam: Billy Al Bengston (1934–2022)

At one time, Los Angeles was an art world “afterthought”. Its now loftier status owes something to Bengston. His early 1960’s minimalist works, often painted with gleaming auto lacquers, referenced biker culture and were early examples of consumer culture influencing fine art. This gave LA credibility with the New York-centric art world. Presumably it was less enthused by Bengston’s later comment that “both racing and art take tenacity, talent, hard work, knowledge and skill”.