FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 133 A Portion of my 1994 letter to H. J. Blackham on the 10th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing (Featured artist is Billy Al Bengston )

H. J. Blackham pictured below:

Image result for h j blackham


On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I sent a letter to H.J. Blackham and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  


Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.


In the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? co-authored by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop I ran across this quote from YOU:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

Livgren wrote, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981.  Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Music video by Kansas performing Dust In The Wind. (c) 2004 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer



BHA mourns Harold Blackham (1903-2009): ‘architect of the humanist movement’

Harold John Blackham (born 31 March 1903), philosopher, lecturer, writer, ‘architect of the British and international humanist movements’ and ‘founder of the British Humanist Association’, has died at the age of 105 (on 23 January 2009). Obituaries were published by The Times and New Humanist and The Independent.

H J BlackhamThe only brother of four sisters, Harold Blackham was educated at King Edward VI School, but left early at the end of the First World War to be a farm labourer, where he worked with and developed an abiding love of horses.  He went on to Birmingham University where he was a student of literature and ethics. For two years he taught at Doncaster Grammar School but left to work as a freelance lecturer and writer in Birmingham. In 1933 he moved to London where his active involvement in organised humanism began. He became the assistant to and then the successor of Stanton Coit, the American who ran the West London Ethical Society in Bayswater, and who had founded a British Union of Ethical Societies in 1896 after a long career of social reform in his native USA. In 1934 Blackham became chairman of the Union and it was this organisation that eventually became the British Humanist Association (BHA), of which he became the first director.

Blackham’s father, a Birmingham bookseller and lay Congregationalist preacher (as was his grandfather), died when he was a child but left him with a life-long love of the written word and his many articles and books over almost 70 years helped to make him one of the most significant figures in twentieth century Humanism. A biography of Stanton Coit, published by the Rationalist Press Association, was his first book in 1948 and at the age of 98, he wrote the epilogue to the revised version of J B Bury’s classic History of Freedom of Thought, published by the University Press of the Pacific in 2001. His Six Existentialist Thinkers, published by Routledge in 1952, became the standard university textbook on the subject, and was re-printed a number of times, but it was on Humanism that he wrote most widely. He edited Living as a Humanist, a collection of essays, in 1950 and his The Human Tradition (his own favourite of all his books) was published by Routledge in 1953, followed by Religion in a Modern Society (Constable, 1966) and Humanism (Penguin, 1968). He had edited Objections to Humanism, published by Constable in 1963 and Penguin in 1965, in which humanists responded to criticisms of the humanist worldview, and this critical openness also informed his Humanists and Quakers: an exchange of letters, published in 1969 by the Society of Friends. His other books included The Fable as Literature (1985) and The Future of our Past: from Ancient Greece to Global Village(1996). His fellow humanist writer, Barbara Smoker, in her anthology Blackham’s Best (1988 and various reprints), describes his writing as driven by a desire to distil and communicate the wisdom of the past to others, and as ‘condensed, taut, aphoristic … with multiple layers of meaning – often more like classical poetry than modern prose’.

It was not just in writing, however, that he earned his reputation as the effective founder of modern Humanism in Britain and internationally, but through a long life of practical action. As he said himself, ‘Faith without works is not Christianity, and unbelief without any effort to help shoulder the consequences for mankind is not humanism.’ (Objections to Humanism, 1963). During the Second World War he worked in the London Fire Service, driving a fire engine throughout the blitz in the London docks, finally becoming liaison officer to the Port of London, while continuing to work part-time as a philosophy lecturer and writer and the secretary of the West London Ethical Society and the Ethical Union. After the war he set out to revive the freethought movement under the banner of ‘Humanism’, a concept which had already been adopted in the United States, India and the Netherlands. As he wrote in 1981,

When, as the Second World War came to an end, I took on the secretaryship of the Ethical Union, it was with the idea of recovering for expression in a modern Humanism the full body of the age-old tradition, with its accumulating scientific, social and ethical content.

He saw this tradition as originating in the ancient world, with Greeks such as Epicurus, through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to emerge in the utilitarians, rationalism, secularism and the ethical movement, converging into ‘a modern consensus that human beings are of age and on their own, and have in their hands the technical means of providing for all the conditions of a life worthy to be called human.’ In 1944 he launched a quarterly magazine, The Plain View, which ran for twenty years and in which he worked out his ideas together with a group of colleagues and outside contributors, especially Julian Huxley and Gilbert Murray – in fact Blackham attracted the foremost minds of the day to contribute to this exceptional journal.

In Birmingham in the 1920s he had founded a local branch of the League of Nations Union and in 1938 he had helped to organise a World Union of Freethinkers conference in London, which turned out to mark the end of the old freethought movement in the face of Fascism and Communism (he was himself involved with bringing Jewish refugee children from Austria to Britain to escape Nazi persecution.) Still thinking internationally after the war, in 1946 he called a London conference of the World Union of Freethinkers to discuss ‘The Challenge of Humanism’. The need, however, was for a new international organisation and Blackham, working with the ethical organisations in Britain and other countries, and also with new Humanist organisations around the world. Visiting Holland after the war he met with the Dutch philosopher and humanist leader Jaap van Praag, with whom he went on to found theInternational Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). Today, the IHEU is a worldwide union of over 100 organisations in 40 nations which continues to develop Humanism internationally. Blackham served as its secretary from 1952 to 1967 and Julian Huxley became its first president, just as he was to become the first president of the British Humanist Association. (Blackham worked closely with Huxley in many ways including helping him to revise his Religion without Revelation.) As well as serving as its secretary, Blackham represented the IHEU in its dialogue with the Vatican Secretariat for Non-Believers. In recognition of his many contributions to international Humanism, he received the IHEU’s International Humanist Award in 1974, and the Special Award for Service to World Humanism in 1978.

At the same time as he was working on building the international humanist movement, Blackham worked to bring together Ethical and Rationalist organisations in Britain, and in 1963 his efforts led to the formation of the British Humanist Association, of which he was the effective founder and first director, retiring in March 1968. Today the British Humanist Association is the national charity supporting and representing non-religious in Britain, renowned for its work in education, in the provision of non-religious funerals and other ceremonies, and active in campaigning for an open society and a secular state.  Without Harold Blackham it would not have existed. Working with leading British humanists such as Huxley, Barbara Wootton, A. J. Ayer and Jacob Bronowski, Blackham inspired and contributed to pioneering practical work in sheltered housing, adoption and non-directive counselling (he co-founded the British Association of Counselling) even as he continued to develop the philosophy of Humanism in his writing and lecturing, including part time at Goldsmith’s College.

Blackham cared deeply about education, and moral education in particular. This focus on education persists in the agenda of today’s BHA, stimulated by this decade’s sad expansion of state-funded faith schools which would have been unimaginable at the time of the BHA’s founding. Blackham himself had been involved in founding the Moral Education League while with the Ethical Union. Working with people like Cyril Bibby, Lionel Elvin, Sir Gilbert Flemming and Edward Blishen, he went on make the BHA a significant advocate of moral education and personal development in schools, recognised as such even by the Church of England Board of Education. He co-founded the Journal of Moral Education – which continues today as the leading global journal in its field and of which he remained an honorary associate until his death – and edited Moral and Religious Education in County Primary Schools (NFER 1975) and Education for Personal Autonomy: Inquiry into the School’s Resources for Furthering the Personal Development of Pupils (1977). Working with Dr James Hemming, his fellow humanist and educationist who died in 2007 aged 98, Blackham ensured that the humanist voice was a feature of debates over religious, moral and values education throughout the second half of the twentieth century, always seeking to work with non-humanists find agreed solutions. To that end he founded the Social Morality Council (later the Norham Foundation), which brought together humanists and eminent religious believers to produce agreed solutions to moral questions affecting society. In Moral and Religious Education in County Primary Schools, he said, ‘At all ages, when world religions and non-religious convictions are studied, it is important to foster an attitude of tolerance and a willingness to stand where the other person stands in an effort to see how something must appear to them. There is a danger that without an attempt to reach this empathetic standpoint, the study of different convictions may produce only negative results. Tolerance and understanding will be achieved most effectively by personal contact, and in the absence of that, by a skilful use of literature and by the teacher’s encouragement of sensitive relationships within the classroom and the school. The fostering of these positive attitudes in the children will then extend, we hope, outside the schools into the wider community.’

On his retirement in 1968, Harold Blackham joined the advisory council of the BHA, to which he had himself recruited such luminaries as Karl Popper and E M Forster, and he remained a member until his death including a spell as President, 1974-77. He was an appointed lecturer at London’s South Place Ethical Society from 1965 until his death and an Honorary Associate of the Rationalist Association from 1977 until his death, having been for many years a director. He continued writing, lecturing, and officiating at humanist funerals into his nineties, eventually retiring to the Wye valley, where he used his ‘uninterrupted leisure in spectacular natural surroundings’ to grow vegetables and continue his reading and writing. Although he described his personal philosophy as Epicurean, others have seen him as a stoic. He wrote of ‘a resourceful, self-dependent, realistic, constructive attitude to life’ – and his long and productive life, committed to a variety of progressive causes, is a monument to the Humanism he espoused.

Harold Blackham’s first wife was Olga, with whom he adopted a son, Paul, who, with his wife Wenol, now has three sons and two grandchildren. He was also pre-deceased by his second wife, Ursula.

On his retirement as director in 1968, the BHA described him as ‘the architect of the British and international humanist movements’ and said, ‘In Britain, he has guided the development of the movement as philosopher and scholar, principal administrator and activist since the war-time days…his retirement is a change of roles, a relief from an arduous programme which has involved something like 2,500 committee meetings and 4,000 speaking engagements since 1945.’

David Pollock, a former chair of the BHA, paid tribute to him at his 100th birthday celebrations in 2003, saying:

Harold created today’s vision of Humanism as a philosophy of life, a lifestance with equal depth as the religions and far greater justification, deserving of equal standing and promising far better results both for the individuals who adopt it and for the world as it grows in significance. That was Harold’s contribution, for which we owe him our eternal gratitude.

Former editor of New Humanist Jim Herrick described him as living ‘the exemplary humanist life, that of thought and action welded together.’

Paul Kurtz, philosopher and humanist activist, said,

I am grieved to learn of the death of Harold Blackham, a man who I first met in 1967 and had been in touch with over the years on my many trips to Britain. This continued in our cooperative work together on behalf of the IHEU. I especially enjoyed visiting him and his wife at their home and garden.

I remember so well my first meeting with Harold and Hector Hawton (of the Rationalist Press Association) as I was preparing to launch Prometheus Books, a new Humanist Press. Both of these dedicated humanists were very encouraging. HJ Blackham was a man of great dignity, philosophical profundity, and an unmatched understanding of the meaning of humanism in practical life. His rare talent was that he was able to combine a dedication to both reflective wisdom and active involvement of the humanist life stance. It was the union of reason and virtue that was a rare talent that is the mark of the dedicated humanist.

Barbara Smoker, writer, lecturer and humanist activist, recalled,

On breaking free from Catholicism, sixty years ago, I used to cross London to replace Sunday Mass by a lecture at the Ethical Church, Bayswater, whenever the New Statesman listings named H J Blackham as the lecturer. He had a quiet sense of humour and occasionally a witty turn of phrase. I thought he looked very much like John Stuart Mill, and he was a charismatic speaker, though not an easy one. His lectures largely comprised my further education – not only in humanistic philosophy, but also in the English language, for there were always several words to look up in the dictionary when I got home. Later, when the Ethical Union was preparing to host the 1957 IHEU Conference in Conway Hall, I volunteered to do some of the secretarial work at Prince of Wales Terrace, for the ‘three Bs’ – Blackham, Burnett and Burall – and I have remained active in the movement ever since.

Hilda Hayden, now a BHA member, reflects on her friendship with Harold Blackham, beginning in his 97th year.

I first met HJ, as I knew him, when he was 97 and had suffered a stroke which robbed him of much of his speech.  John, my husband, had been asked as an Age Concern Visitor to talk to HJ and help him to regain what he had lost, and I went along because it was easier with two of us, and later after John died I continued alone, because by then we had got to know each other well.

He was a man of considerable intellect and he had clearly not lost his mental powers, and once we had established our system of inspired guesswork for the missing words we had many interesting talks.

A Conscientious Objector during the war, he  had joined the London Fire Brigade and been billeted in the Tower of London, and one of his stories concerned the time when as the driver of a fire engine he had dashed off in his engine too hastily only to remember that he had left the crew behind.

As a young man he had worked on farms and developed a great love of horses, and these were always a favourite theme on birthday cards. He had many stories to tell about this part of his life.  We learned about his life as a child in Jersey, the only boy among older sisters, and he seemed happy to dwell on his early life.  It seemed we got to know the real HJ Blackham, quite apart from the man who later came to have such an influence on the development of Humanism.

HJ lent us a number of books about Humanism, which we found fairly hard going, but he seemed not to take offence at our inability.  John was a very strong Anglican, whereas I had always been an agnostic, and so you might say HJ’s influence was more profound in my case, and I later joined the BHA.

I shall forever remember HJ sitting at his window overlooking the Wye and surveying the panoramic view, a tiny figure on his raised cushions.  We watched the changing seasons, and he would draw my attention to the flooded fields, or the opening of leaf buds, or the movements of the flocks of sheep, or the swans that migrated about the river according to the weather, or the birds gathering for their long journey.  There was always something for us to see and enjoy, and it was only most reluctantly that I had to leave him to another visitor when I began to have my own health problems.

HJ Blackham was a man whom I shall always remember with great affection.


Featured artist is Billy Al Bengston

Billy Al Bengston Oral History


Art review: Billy Al Bengston at Samuel Freeman Gallery

FEBRUARY 19, 2010 |  6:30 AM

400.bengston492Studio slang that expressed effusive approval in the Abstract Expressionist 1950s, whether swaggering or sentimental, became literal subject matter for numerous artists in the 1960s. Jasper Johns was a leading practitioner. For instance, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, his infamous “Painting With Two Balls” – a pair of actual spheres inserted into a canvas vigorously brushed with gestural color – lampooned the era’s machismo posturing.

Billy Al Bengston is another artist who took slang at its pictorial word. At Samuel Freeman Gallery, an approximate re-creation of Bengston’s second painting exhibition, held at L.A.’s Ferus Gallery 50 years ago this week, brings the strategy into focus.

In keeping with the season, it features a group of works whose central motif is a valentine. Now, that’s a painting with heart.

Bengston had been impressed with Johns’ American flags and other proto-Pop paintings during a 1958 European encounter at the Venice Biennale, when he was 24. Stuck in a gestural painting rut, like many American artists as the Ab Ex decade was drawing to a close, Bengston wanted out. The marvelous Ferus/Freeman exhibition shows him working his way into new terrain.

Bengston sophia 1960Geometry helped, toppling gesture from its pinnacle. The show includes two small canvases that feature a cruciform shape in the center of a square, its linear periphery piled high with an inch of thick oil paint, like wintry snowdrifts. Eight more paintings on paper sport cruciform shapes, some with tentative hearts beginning to emerge.

A monumental canvas, 6½ feet high and 7½ feet wide, nests a series of Josef Albers-type squares inside a gunmetal gray field of lightly brushed paint. Confetti-like daubs of bright color frame the canvas, while a crimson line and checkerboards of yellow-ocher and white or black and blue frame the big, bifurcated heart in the center. The heart and its background are painted four shades of green.

Titled “Big Hollywood,” it’s the mother ship for a host of subsequent Bengston paintings that take the first names of movie stars. “Sophia” (as in Loren) is a small but voluptuous canvas whose complementary colors of blue and orange ignite optical sparks in the central heart.

Bengston’s geometric formats and repetition of imagery seem designed to free up the paintings from the nagging problem of subject matter. Instead, they’re material meditations on luminous, sensual color.

Bengston_installation008The works are installed in a faithful reconstruction of the original Ferus Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, an exceedingly modest footprint within Freeman Gallery and complete with a dropped-ceiling of acoustic tiles, clumsy lighting and brown twill carpeting. Proprietor Walter Hopps provided Ferus’ intellectual core, and seeing Bengston’s reconstructed show reminded me of Hopps’ commitment to the quixotic genius, Wallace Berman, whose aesthetic motto was “Art is Love is God.” Bengston’s Hollywood valentines enfold that sentiment in surprising ways.

A second partial reconstruction in the gallery, following installations of Bengston’s more flatly decorative recent work, assembles eight beautiful lacquer and polyester resin paintings on squares of aluminum. Called “dentos,” they’re folded, spindled and mutilated, some by a good whacking with a ball-peen hammer.

Why beat up a painting surface, which is about to have luscious pigment poured all over it? Well, given the vaguely condescending term “finish fetish” being applied to so much sleek, 1960s L.A. art, banging up the object was one good way to subsume preciosity.

So was showing the “dentos” in a dark room by candlelight, as they are here and were originally in 1970 at Rico Mizuno Gallery. Claims of mystical aura are undercut, art’s reigning period-cliché of California sunshine is neatly unplugged and sensuous perception is italicized. That’s called a hat-trick.

– Christopher Knight

Samuel Freeman Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 449-1479, through March 12. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Images: Billy Al Bengston, “Big Hollywood” (1960); “Sophia” (1960); “Dentos” installation. Courtesy of Samuel Freeman Gallery.

Billy Al Bengston

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canopus Dracula by Billy Al Bengston, 1977,Honolulu Museum of Art

Billy Al Bengston (born June 7, 1934 in Dodge City, Kansas) is an American artist and sculptor who lives and works in Venice, California. He was educated at Los Angeles City College Los Angeles, CA (1952), California College of Arts & Crafts Oakland, CA (1955), and the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA (1956).

After seeing the work of Jasper Johns at the 1958 Venice Biennale he adopted the motif of a set of sergeant‘s stripes. This recurring image was painted with industrial materials and techniques associated with the decoration of motorcycle tanks and surfboards.[1]

Bengston encouraged viewers in the early 1960s to associate his art with motorcycle subculture, for instance by straddling a bike on the cover of the catalogue for a 1961 show at Ferus Gallery.[2] His interest in cars lead to Judy Chicago, one of his students, attending auto body school and using spray painting techniques.[2] Thomas E. Crow draws attention to the deliberate contrast between Bengston’s flamboyant, competitive, aggressively masculine stance and a delicate, modest approach to his art.[1] Silhouettes of iris flowers figure prominently in Bengston’s paintings. In the 1960s, he often painted a single centrally placed flower. In the 1970s, he began using multiple iris silhouettes, often surrounded by overlapping circles,[3] as in Canopus Dracula from 1977, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art.

He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1967), the Tamarind Lithography Workshop (1968, 1982, 1987), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1975). His first solo exhibition was at the Ferus Gallery in 1958.[4] In 2010 at Samuel Freeman, Bengston recreated this first solo exhibition, including a scale replica of the Ferus Gallery inside Freeman’s space.[5] His work is found in many public and private collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou(Paris), the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Los Angeles), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), and the Whitney Museum of American Art(New York).


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Thomas E. Crow, The Rise of the Sixties: American and European Art in the Era of Dissent, Laurence King Publishing, 2004, p80-81. ISBN 1-85669-426-7
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Cécile Whiting, Pop L.A.: Art and the City in the 1960s, University of California Press, 2006, p94. ISBN 0-520-24460-5
  3. Jump up^ Honolulu Museum of Art wall label, Canopus Dracula by Billy Al Bengston, 1977, acrylic on canvas, accession 2014-15-01
  4. Jump up^ Otis College of Art Alumni Listing, accessed Aug 4, 2007
  5. Jump up^

External links[edit]

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The Death of a (Former) Atheist — Antony Flew, 1923-2010 Antony Flew’s rejection of atheism is an encouragement, but his rejection of Christianity is a warning. Rejecting atheism is simply not enough, by Al Mohler

________________________________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ______________________ During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged  | Edit | Comments (0)

Antony Flew’s journey from Atheism to Theism

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 1 0   Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode X – Final Choices 27 min FINAL CHOICES I. Authoritarianism the Only Humanistic Social Option One man or an elite giving authoritative arbitrary absolutes. A. Society is sole absolute in absence of other absolutes. B. But society has to be […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 9 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IX – The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 27 min T h e Age of Personal Peace and Afflunce I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 8 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VIII – The Age of Fragmentation 27 min I saw this film series in 1979 and it had a major impact on me. T h e Age of FRAGMENTATION I. Art As a Vehicle Of Modern Thought A. Impressionism (Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 7 Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason I am thrilled to get this film series with you. I saw it first in 1979 and it had such a big impact on me. Today’s episode is where we see modern humanist man act […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 6 “The Scientific Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 6 How Should We Then Live 6#1 Uploaded by NoMirrorHDDHrorriMoN on Oct 3, 2011 How Should We Then Live? Episode 6 of 12 ________ I am sharing with you a film series that I saw in 1979. In this film Francis Schaeffer asserted that was a shift in […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 5 How Should We Then Live? Episode 5: The Revolutionary Age I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Francis Schaeffer noted, “Reformation Did Not Bring Perfection. But gradually on basis of biblical teaching there […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 4 “The Reformation” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode IV – The Reformation 27 min I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer makes three key points concerning the Reformation: “1. Erasmian Christian humanism rejected by Farel. 2. Bible gives needed answers not only as to […]

“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance”

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 3 “The Renaissance” Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 3) THE RENAISSANCE I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer really shows why we have so […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 2 “The Middle Ages” (Schaeffer Sundays)

  Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 2) THE MIDDLE AGES I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970′s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer points out that during this time period unfortunately we have the “Church’s deviation from early church’s teaching in regard […]

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

Francis Schaeffer: “How Should We Then Live?” (Episode 1) THE ROMAN AGE   Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970′s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first. Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why […]

By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)




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