This index lists issues of Semina, the periodical edited by Wallace Berman; contributors are listed alphabetically
1. SEMINA, No. 1, edited by Wallace Berman
Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, 1955
Envelope measuring 4″ x 7.75″ with silver gelatin print of Cameron tipped on to the exterior, contains 8 letterpress and offset printed cards of various dimension, 150 copies.
Contributors include: E. I. Alexander [Robert Alexander], Charles Brittin, Cameron, Peder Carr, Jean Cocteau, Marion Grogan, Herman Hesse, Walter Hopps, David Meltzer.
2. SEMINA, No. 2, edited by Wallace Berman
Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, December 1957
Saddle-stapled in wrappers with offset and letterpress printed image tipped on to the front wrapper, 5.5″ x 8.5″, printed by Stone Brothers Printing [Robert Alexander and Wallace Berman].
Contributors include: John Altoon, Jack Anderson, Charles Baudelaire, Wallace Berman, Charles Brittin, Charles Bukowski, Cameron, Peder Carr, Lewis Carroll, Eric Cashen, Jean Cocteau, Judson Crews, Paul Eluard, Marion Grogan, Hermann Hesse, Walter Hopps, Marcia Jacobs, J.B. [James Boyer] May, Mike McClure, David Meltzer, John Reed, Idell T. Romero [Aya Tarlow], Rabindranath Tagore, Alexander Trocchi, Lynn Trocchi, Paul Valéry, Zack Walsh, Pantale Xantos [Wallace Berman].
3. SEMINA, No. 3, edited by Wallace Berman
San Francisco: Wallace Berman, 1958
Broadside measuring 6.5″ x 22″ folded and tipped into folder measuring 9″ x 11″ with offset and letterpress printed image tipped on to the front cover, 200 copies.
Contributors include: Mike McClure.
4. SEMINA, No. 4, edited by Wallace Berman
San Francisco: Wallace Berman, 1959
Folder measuring 8″ x 9.5″ with a half-tone of Shirley Berman tipped on to the front cover, internal letterpress printed pocket contains 23 offset lithograph, lithograph, and letterpress printed cards of various dimensions
Contributors include: I. E. Alexander [Robert Alexander], Wallace Berman, William Blake, Ray Bremser, William S. Burroughs, John Chance, Sou-ma Ch’ien (translation by Charles Guenther), Beverly Collins, Judson Crews, Charles Foster, Allen Ginsberg, Pierre Jean Jouve (translation by Howard Shulman), Robert Kaufman, Philip Lamantia, Ron Loewinsohn, Michael McClure, David Meltzer, Stuart Perkoff, John Reed, Idell T. Romero [Aya Tarlow], Charles Stark, Jules Supervielle (translation by Charles Guenther), John Wieners, Pantale Xantos [Wallace Berman], W.B. Yeats.
From the Colophon: Type handset on beat 5 x 8 Excelsior handpress / cover photo: “Wife” by W. Berman / San Francisco 1959 / Art is Love is God.
5. SEMINA, No. 5, edited by Wallace Berman
Larkspur: Wallace Berman, 1959
Folder measuring 5″ x 7.5″, internal letterpress printed pocket containing 18 offset lithograph and letterpress printed cards of various dimensions, 350 copies. Cover photo by Charles Brittin.
Contributors include: Antonin Artaud, Wallace Berman, John Chance, Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz (translated by Philip Lamantia), Kirby Doyle, John Hoffman, Larry Jordan, Robert Kaufman, Philip Lamantia, Christofer Maclaine, William Margolis, Michael McClure, Anne McKeever, David Meltzer, John Reed, Ruth Weiss, John Wieners, Pantale Xantos [Wallace Berman].
6. SEMINA, No. 6, edited by Wallace Berman
Larkspur: Wallace Berman, 1960
Folder measuring 8″ x 8.5″, internal letterpress printed pocket containing 14 offset lithograph printed cards each measuring 4.75″ x 5.75″, 335 copies. Cover photo by Wallace Berman.
Contributors include: David Meltzer
From the Colophon: The Clown a poem by David Meltzer 335 copies printed / Type handset on a warped 5 x 8 inch Handpress / Cover photo – Wallace Berman / Larkspur Calif. 1960
7. SEMINA, No. 7, edited by Wallace Berman
Larkspur: Wallace Berman, 1961
Folder measuring 5.5″ x 7.75″ with photo tipped on, internal letterpress printed pocket containing 17 offset lithograph and letterpress printed cards of various dimensions, 200 copies. Cover photo by Wallace Berman.
Contributors include: Wallace Berman
From the Colophon: ALEPH/ a gesture involving / photographs drawings & text / by Wallace Berman / 200 copies Larkspur Calif 1961 / for Shirley & Tosh / I love you
8. SEMINA, No. 8, edited by Wallace Berman
Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, 1963
Folder measuring 5.5″ x 7.25″ with photo tipped on, internal letterpress printed pocket containing 14 offset lithograph and letterpress printed cards of various dimensions, circa 200 copies. Cover image created by Dean Stockwell
Contributors include: A.A. [Antonin Artaud], W. [Wallace Berman], Cameron, K.D. [Kirby Doyle], J.K. [Jack Kerouac], M.M. [Michael McClure], I.T.R. [Idell T. Romero [Aya Tarlow]], z.w. [Zack Walsh], J.W. [John Wieners].
9. SEMINA, No. 9, edited by Wallace Berman
Los Angeles: Wallace Berman, 1964
Envelope with photo tipped on to the exterior, contains one letterpress printed card, circa 200 copies. Cover image created by Wallace Berman
Contributors include: Michael McClure
Note: In 1992 George Herms published a facsimile edition of Semina (Venice: Love Press, 1992) in an edition of 300 numbered copies signed by Herms and laid into a printed chipboard box with numbered and signed colophon. The facsimile re-creation took four years to print and has been assembled in the fashion of the originals: handset letterpress on scraps of colored paper, photos, pastedowns, etc.
Wallace Berman was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York. In the 1930s, his family moved to the Jewish district (Boyle Heights) in Los Angeles. After being expelled from high school for gambling in the early 1940s, Berman immersed himself in the growing West Coast jazz scene. During this period, he briefly attended the Jepson Art School and Chouinard Art School, but departed when he found the training too academic for his needs.
In 1949, while working in a factory finishing antique furniture, he began to make sculptures from unused scraps and reject materials. By the early 1950s, Berman had become a full-time artist and an active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many art historians consider him to be the ‘father’ of the California assemblage movement. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication SEMINA, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by Berman.
In 1963, permanently settled in Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area, Berman began work on verifax collages (printed images, often from magazines and newspapers, mounted in collage fashion onto a flat surface, sometimes with solid bright areas of acrylic paint). He continued creating these works, as well as rock assemblages, until his death in 1976.
Wallace Berman Checklist:
Further Reading and Reference:
ART AS A MUSCULAR PRINCIPLE, 10 Artists and San Francisco 1950-1965, edited by Merril Greene and Alix Meier
Mount Holyoke: John and Norah Warbeke Gallery, 1975
ART IN LOS ANGELES: SEVENTEEN ARTISTS IN THE SIXTIES, edited by Maurice Tuchman
Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1981
ASSEMBLAGE IN CALIFORNIA: WORKS FROM THE LATE 50’S AND EARLY 60’S
Irvine: Art Gallery, University of California, 1968
DIFFERENT DRUMMERS, edited by Frank Gettings
Washington DC: Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1988
LA POP IN THE SIXTIES, edited by Anne Ayres
Newport Beach: Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1989
SAN FRANCISCO RENAISSANCE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE ’50S AND ’60S, edited and with an introduction by Merril Greene
New York: Gotham Book Mart Gallery, 1975
SECRET EXHIBITION: SIX CALIFORNIA ARTISTS OF THE COLD WAR ERA, edited by Rebecca Solnit
San Francisco: City Lights, 1990
SUPPORT THE REVOLUTION, edited by Tosh Berman, Michael McClure, David Meltzer, Colin Gardner, Walter Hopps, Christopher Knight, Eduardo Lipschutz-Villa, Charles Brittin
Amsterdam: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1992
THIRD RAIL, Issue 9, edited by Uri Hertz
Los Angeles: Third Rail, 1988
UTOPIA AND DISSENT: ART, POETRY, AND POLITICS IN CALIFORNIA, by Richard Cándida Smith
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)
Jay De Feo