Biography and Lesson Plans
Bernice Bing (1936–1998), or “Bingo,” was a queer Chinese American Abstract Expressionist artist. Born in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bing’s early life was marked by adversity: orphaned at the age of six, she lived in a variety of homes during her childhood. In 1958, Bing began attending California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. Here, under the influence of her professors, she began exploring what it meant to be an American-born, queer, ethnically Chinese artist. Her fascination with East Asian philosophy, especially Zen Buddhism, can be seen throughout her work. In 1961, Bing graduated with an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. A devoted artist and activist, she supported many arts organizations throughout the Bay Area. Bing’s contributions to the New York–centric, male-dominated field of Abstract Expressionism were overlooked during her lifetime, but her work of exploring identity and supporting the arts are contributions that will inspire generations to come.
Lesson Plan includes:
- Lesson 1: Compare and Contrast—Hasegawa and Bing (grades 1–8)
- Lesson 2: Researching Bay Area Arts Organizations (grades 3–7)
- Lesson 3: Identity, Intersectionality (grades 6–12+)
- Lesson 4: East Asian Art Traditions and Bernice Bing (grades 5–12)