A central figure as the Monster Roster emerged, Fred Berger (b. 1923, Chicago; d. 2006, Chicago) would go on to be better known for his later work, which bore little connection to the rough, expressionistically executed heads and clusters of putty-like figures he painted (and occasionally sculpted) in the 1950s.
His assessment is the starkest of the Monster Roster’s motives:
“I decided to give up the nonsensical notion of painting like other people in order to belong to some art movement and by doing that, gaining some recognition.”
Fred Berger, quoted in Carolyn S. Pratt, “Fred Berger, Chicago Imagist,” MA thesis, University of Wyoming, 1980, p. 23.
This text was adapted from John Corbett’s “Introducing: The Roster” in the Monster Roster exhibition catalogue.