Tom

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Tom

United States, 1968
Paintings
Sprayed nitrocellulose lacquer and polyester resin on aluminum
26 × 25 in. (66.04 × 63.5 cm)
Gift of B. Gerald Cantor (M.68.58)
Not currently on public view

Label

Billy Al Bengston’s years as a professional motorcycle racer profoundly affected his art practice....
Billy Al Bengston’s years as a professional motorcycle racer profoundly affected his art practice. He excelled at painting bikes, and particularly enjoyed spraying multiple layers of automotive lacquer on their hard metal surfaces. This experience inspired his subsequent work: in 1965 Bengston began denting, hammering, folding, crumpling, and even puncturing aluminum sheets and then spray-painting them, creating a series referred to as “dentos.” Among these is Tom, whose many layers of lacquer suggest dizzying spatial depths, while its high-gloss finish immediately brings the viewer's eye back to the surface.

Exhibition label: Light, Space, Surface: Works from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2021, Carol S. Eliel.
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Bibliography

  • Eliel, Carol, editor. Light, Space, Surface: Art from Southern California. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: DelMonico Books, 2021.