Bill Berkson Tribute
Saturday, November 17, 2018, 4:00 p.m., San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, 94133
with appearances by
celebrating the release of
Since When: A Memoir In Pieces
By Bill Berkson
published by Coffee House Press
Frank O'Hara, Marilyn Monroe, John Cage, Allen Ginsberg—champagne-soaked postwar Manhattan and bohemian 1960s San Francisco come alive in Berkson's memoirs.
Bill Berkson was a poet, art critic, bon vivant, and joyful participant in the best of postwar and bohemian American culture. Since When gathers the ephemera of a life well lived, a collage of bold-face names, parties, exhibitions, and literary history from a man who could write "of [Truman Capote's Black and White] ball, which I attended as my mother's escort, I have little recollection" and reminisce about imagining himself as a character from Tolstoy while tripping on acid at Woodstock. Gentle, witty, and eternally generous, this is Bill Berkson, and a particular moment in American history, at its best.
Bill Berkson was a poet, critic, teacher, and curator. He collaborated with many artists and writers, including Alex Katz, Philip Guston, and Frank O'Hara, and his criticism appeared in ARTnews, Art in America, and elsewhere. Formerly a professor of liberal arts at the San Francisco Art Institute, he was born in New York in 1939. He died in June 2016.
Critical praise for Since When:
"Imagine an ideal friend, someone of good character, honorable, congenial, smart, well-read, judicious, articulate, self-aware, open-minded, and socially graceful, a gifted writer at the center of New York's and the Bay Area's artistic communities for sixty years. That ideal friend is Bill Berkson, and in this marvelous book he tells the true and fascinating story of his life and times." —Ron Padgett
About the San Francisco Art Institute:
Since 1871, SFAI has attracted individuals who push beyond boundaries to discover uncharted artistic terrain. With an ever-expanding roster of esteemed faculty and alumni, robust exhibitions and public programs, and a mission dedicated to the intrinsic value of art, SFAI is poised to expand upon the West Coast legacy of radical innovation that grounds SFAI’s philosophy for another century.