Ed Bereal never shies away from political issues, like biting commentary about race relations and the follies of nationalistic greed. Born in Los Angeles in 1937 as a war baby and having studied at Chouinard Art Institute, Bereal has created work that carries a breadth of visual range, from assemblage sculptures to expertly drafted illustrations and to performative works with Bodacious Buggerrilla, a political guerrilla theater group he cofounded in 1969. For Portland Art Museum’s APEX exhibition, a small selection of objects and installations illustrate and ground us in more than 50 years of Bereal’s practice, hurling viewers into the shambolic spectacle that feels all too close to our current events.
A lifelong educator, Bereal taught at University of California, Irvine’s School of Fine Arts from 1969 to 1993. During that time, Bereal was also teaching in the black studies department at the University of California, Riverside, in the late 1960s. In 1993, Bereal joined the College of Fine and Performing Arts at Western Washington University until his retirement in 2007. Bereal maintains his studio on his farm in Bellingham, Washington, and was most recently celebrated with a retrospective at the Whatcom Museum organized by curator Amy Chaloupka, titled Wanted: Ed Bereal for Disturbing the Peace.
APEX is an ongoing series of exhibitions of Northwest-based artists, curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art. The APEX exhibition series is supported in part by The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowments for Northwest Art and the Exhibition Series Sponsors.