George Herms, a leading figure of the Californian Assemblage movement and influential in the Beat Generation, was inspired to become an artist after seeing an exhibition of Wallace Berman's work at the Ferus Gallery. His first exhibition was a 'secret exhibition' in 1957, only seen by Berman, who became a mentor figure to Herms, and John Reed, before the artist disassembled it again.
George Herms moves seamlessly between the visual arts, poetry, film, and performance. In many respects, his sculptures are both an extension of his poetry and performance art, due in part to the ephemeral and transient nature of his materials. He makes sculptural objects out of non-art materials, transforming everyday objects into three-dimensional structures. He has always been fascinated by abandoned objects marked by the passage of time.
Herms is an icon of the Beat Generation and during the 1950's was an important figure in the exchange of ideas between the West Coast's creative centers, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He gravitated first to San Francisco's North Beach, a center of experimentation where his own creativity flourished. A noted poet, Herms began to visualize the spoken-word performance of
Beat poetry as assemblages of ideas and found its counterpart in objects.