Homage to Herman Hesse
On View at the Getty Center: Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1970
Homage to Hermann Hesse had its beginnings as early as 1949, when Berman rescued remnants from his workplace, the Salem Furniture Company. Sections of polished wood evoke the hand of the craftsman as opposed to the mass-produced plastics that were popular in much mid-century design. Berman fashioned the component parts into a construction that resembles a collection of totems or a three-dimensional board game. Hermann Hesse, to whom the work is dedicated, was the German author of the novel The Glass Bead Game, a book that inspired Berman’s interest in game systems and chance. Here, as in later work by Berman and his peers, assemblage speaks to the marvelous potential of the chance encounter, of a fascination with language and its games, and of the improvisations of jazz.