Wallace Berman (1926–1976) was born in Staten Island, New York, and moved to Los Angeles as a child. He enrolled at the Jepson Art Institute and at Chouinard Art Institute, but did not finish studies at either; instead he became entrenched in the city’s jazz and Beat scenes. In 1949 he began to make assemblage sculptures. He showed these at the Ferus Gallery in 1957, but the exhibition was closed prematurely by the L.A. Police Department’s vice squad. Disheartened, Berman moved his family to the Bay Area, where he established the makeshift Semina Gallery and continued his loose-leaf magazine Semina, before returning to L.A. in 1961. In 1964, Berman began to make Verifax collages, embarking on a path that he would follow for over a decade, until his death in Topanga Canyon in 1976.