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Billy Al Bengston Retrospective in Los Angeles

BILLY AL BENGSTON’S CAREER BEGAN at Manual Arts High School, a vocational training school in Los Angeles, which included within its largely industrial arts curriculum an excellently conceived Fine Arts program. This unique program afforded students such as Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston, as well as Bengston, the opportunity to develop sophisticated skills within the secondary school system.

For Bengston, graduation from high school and enrollment in college in the fall of 1952 was the beginning of a series of misadventures with higher education. Dissatisfied with college, Bengston dropped out after a few weeks and found work as a displayman in Desmond’s Department Store in Los Angeles. In the spring of 1953, he left the store and worked throughout the summer season as a beach attendant. The opportunity to surf and swim and earn a living as well was irresistible for Bengston. An important

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