Lisa-Marie Berndt

I am a Berlin-based art historian, currently studying for a Master’s degree at the Technical
University in Berlin. When I came across Ann Charters’ “Women of the Beat Generation” in a small bookstore in the Latin Quarter during my Erasmus study abroad at the Institut Catholique in Paris in 2016, a journey into previously unknown depths of the Beat Generation began for me. In particular, Brenda Knight’squote spurred my research:

“Jack Kerouac would be the first to tell you that the mainstream and the mass media were the death of the Beat Generation. Sensationalism and mass success, by its very nature, negates that which is Beat. Beat is underground, raw, unedited, pure, shocking. Beat can‘t be refined, sanitized, second-guessed, premeditated; it must be immediate. Beat is an expulsion, a vomiting of vision. To pretty it up for the cameras and papers is to snuff the very essence of Beat. Ironically, because the women in the movement have, to a certain degree, been ignored and marginalized, they represent the precious little of that which remains truly beat.“

Accordingly, my research interest is primarily related to the women of the Beat Generation. It is a
passion, a will to represent the underrepresented beatniks, to reopen and revise the Beat canon.
In 2018, I also completed my Bachelor’s degree with a thesis on the artwork “The Rose” by Beat
artist Jay DeFeo titled “The Rose by Jay DeFeo. Religion and Spirituality.” Since my main focus is
art history, I mainly focus my research on the female artists of the Beat Generation, which is also
what I will be writing my master’s thesis on in 2021/2022. Since February 2020, I have also created
the Instagram account “womenofthebeatgeneration” where I feature art, poetry, and personalities of
female beatniks on a daily basis.

I believe that these figures have received too little attention in the past and want my research to
connect to current debates about the underrepresentation of female artists in order to, in Brenda
Knight’s words, pay more attention to what “remains truly beat”.