Born Peter Schwarze in Leipzig in 1943, Blinky Palermo and his twin brother, Michael grew up as adopted children under the name Heisterkamp. In 1962 he enrolled in the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where he studied under Joseph Beuys. In 1964 he adopted the name, “Blinky Palermo” which he took from an American boxing promoter and mafioso.
Palermo showed his Wall Drawings at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich in 1968. After visiting New York in 1970, he returned and established a studio there in 1973. Palermo died four years later while traveling in the Maldives. His last work, “To the People of New York City”, was shown at the Heiner Freidrich Gallery in New York in 1977.
Prior to his death, Palermo took part in more than seventy exhibitions and represented Germany at then São Paulo Bienal in 1975. He was given posthumous retrospectives at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur in 1984 and the Kunstmuseum Bonn in 1993.