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Billy Al Bengston (1934-2022)

Family moved to California in 1948. Studied at Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles State College, California College of Arts and Crafts and Los Angeles County Art Institute.  He spent six months in Europe in 1958-59. He taught at Chouinard Art Institute in 1961, at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1962-63, at the University of Oklahoma in 1967, and at the University of Colorado in 1969. Bengston was part of the 1960s California Pop-Art movement, and pioneered the use of industrial and spray paint techniques in his fine art painting, creating dazzling optical effects. In 1996, he joined with Westfall Interior Systems to supply art as part of a total interior package.

Exhibitions: Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963; Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, 1962; Oakland Art Museum, 1963; Sao Paulo Bienal, 1965; Seattle Art Museum, 1966; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1968; Pasadena Art Museum, 1969; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 1973, 1988; Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1981; and more.

Awards: National Council of Arts, 1967; Tamarind Fellowship, 1968, 1982, 1987; Guggenheim Fellowship, 1975.

Collections: Phoenix Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art; Guggenheim Museum; Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Art Gallery of Ontario; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and more.


Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
AskART,, accessed Oct. 11, 2007; Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936-1970, 1976; Art Inventories Cat; Plagens, Peter.  Sunshine Muse: Contemporary Art on the West Coast. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.

This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.