bernice bing

Born in 1936 in Chinatown, Bing was orphaned at age 5 after her father died in jail and her mother — “a hat girl and waitress at the Forbidden City,” by Landauer’s description — died from heart disease. She was raised in a religious orphanage and by an ever-changing series of relatives and foster parents.

[Bing] was "a rebellious kid who matures into an omnivorously curious adult, an artist often poised on the edge of a success that ultimately eluded her in life (Bing died in 1998). She argues that Bing was, in fact, accepted into the San Francisco counterculture art scene of the early 1960s, but has since been largely erased by a New York-centric art world because she didn’t have the right contacts nor the requisite “heterosexuality as well as white skin and possession of a Y chromosome.”

As time passed, her artistic concerns shifted, as one would hope they would. Yet the sense one gets from “Bingo” the exhibition is of a collection of notations for an art of great originality that might have been, had an artist who was herself an original been offered an environment that celebrated and supported her.

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