portrait of David Wsserman


David Wasserman was born in New York City in 1917. He grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Cooper Union in 1940, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he founded Lance Studios, a commercial art studio. He and his partner Andy Chaidez operated the mid-Manhattan firm until 1995. He enjoyed his commercial work, and often said "my work is play," but he also believed that a true artist must express his creativity in every possible way. While working and raising a family, he found time to create board games, to patent inventions, to write and illustrate children's books for his children and his grandchildren, to paint in oils, and to write poems and stories.

He completed his first work of metal art in the late 1960's, a brilliant sunburst assembled from pieces cut from ordinary "tin" cans (which are really steel cans thinly coated with tin). When aluminum soda cans came into use, he found himself admiring their vivid industrial colors. Long before recycling became fashionable, he and his wife Betty would rummage through trash cans in Eisenhower Park, near their Long Island home, to find just the right shade of red or green or yellow to complete a work in progress.

After he finished a substantial body of work, friends and relatives tried to persuade the artist to arrange for a public showing. But he wasn't interested in selling or promoting his creations. He did allow his oldest son, Steven, to create the first version of this website in 1997, which led to a story in Newsday. In 1998, David and Betty Wasserman moved to Nashville, to be closer to Steven and his family. Preparations for an exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum were finally underway when David Wasserman died of complications related to Parkinson's Disease on October 12, 1999.

The show opened to a rave review in the Nashville Tennessean. Later exhibits were staged at the University of the South, The Appalachian Center for Craft, Nashville's Gordon Jewish Community Center, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and Nashville International Airport.