Blinky Palermo was born Peter Schwarze in 1943 in Leipzig, where he and his twin brother, Michael, grew up as adopted children under the name Heisterkamp. In 1962 he entered the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied with Joseph Beuys, and in 1964 he adopted the name Blinky Palermo, which he appropriated from an American boxing manager and mafioso. In 1968 Palermo showed wall drawings at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich. After visiting New York with Gerhard Richter in 1970, he established a studio there in 1973. Palermo died in 1977, while traveling in the Maldives. His last work, To the People of New York City (1976), was shown at the Heiner Friedrich Gallery, New York, in 1977, and at Dia in Chelsea, in 1987. During his lifetime, Palermo participated in more than seventy exhibitions and represented Germany at the 13th São Paulo Biennial, in 1975. Posthumous retrospectives have been presented at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur (1984); the Kunstmuseum Bonn (1993); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, in co-production with the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002–3); and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2007).