ENGL 40761 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Wallace Berman, Jay Defeo, Ferus Gallery

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7 May 2017
Semina Culture Notes
Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers
Rodia gathered “stuff”, such as bottles and crockery that are collaged together to
form the tower and its spirals
Worked on his creation for over thirty years
A form of folk art, and is considered to be one of the most important works of art
in California
Was an inspiration for California artists who were creating art of their own from
Wallace Berman
Berman painted Hebrew letters, however they did not make up actual words
Berman copied transistor radios and collages images onto them, which became his
iconic works
In Papa’s Got s Brand New Bag, Berman illustrates mini images of TVs, another
form of portable technology
Semina ran for nine years, and was issued whenever Berman felt like it.
Had to be “cool enough” for Berman to send you a copy, you can not subscribe to
get an issue of Semina
Created what is now “mail art” and would pass art along and make copies
Ferus Gallery was run by the artists themselves
Cameron’s drawing was found by police, following a complaint for obscenity,
and Berman was actually charged for the complaint
Semina 7 was the only issue in which Berman composed the work entirely by
Jack Hirschman
Berman created a collage cover of Black Alephs, which features a bride and
Image of the bride is central to Shekhinah (Sabbath Bride, female aspect of God)
Semina culture was a very welcoming and encouraging environment for women
Jay DeFeo is a monumental figure in Semina Culture, and women’s art in the
United States. Lots of her work features flower forms
Jay was the figure for much of Berman’s photography
Created a painting The Rose, which is one of her greatest works, is now in the
Whitney Museum
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