David Pena Artist

The Beat Generation - Transcendental Sensibilities

Water Towers Manhattan
Water Towers on 17th Street © David Pena 2006

New York Art World ® - Artists - Next Artist - Back - Next David Pena

Back in the 60s - The Beat Generation


The beats came out of the Times Square subterranean world of down-and-out, streetwise, urban mix of characters.


The underbelly of the Times Square terrain induced and introduced the term "Beat Generation".


They were free-wheeling, coast-to-coast, hitch-hiking, spontaneous, exploring the spontaneous prose of the moment.

West Village Tenement
© David Pena 2006
West Village Tenement
Oil on Canvas - 20" x 24"

Benzedrine kept them awake. They were exploring the sub-conscious which was a lead-into the Surrealists, improvisational jazz, Eastern mysticism.

The West coast beats fired the Ginsburg imagination. The winds of the 60s were already upon us.

There was a Dada-Surrealist break-away from classical education and theories of modernism; a break-down to free forms of expression.DeKooning had some problems with this but Pollock had no trouble making this leap. He could take off running and push the boundaries of paintings. The east coast beats were more intelligentsia compared to the west coast beats who were more spiritualist.


There were the beat poets. The experimented with the Surrealist ideas: Exquisite Corpse, Automatic Writing.

A Poem about Baudellaire, "Beauty is everywhere" . . . "You had to make a dollar and hustle in the street." Let's drink cold water from a tin cup while on 57th Street they played bebop music.

Museums and artists were creating and experimenting with a new form of expressionism or a less studied approach. There was that breaking up of sensibilities.

Peck Slip and the Woolworth Building
Oil on Canvas - 30" x 25"

Peck Slip Woolworth
© David Pena 2006

* Jack Michelin, Poet of the Streets, Stone City
* Jack Michelin, 67 Poems for down-trodden saints 1997 FMSBW (San Francisco)
* The Portable Beat Reader, Elteld Anvlharters, ISBN -14243750-0
David Pena 2018 All Rights Reserved
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