Judith Bernstein Sees a World Screwed-up By Men

THE DAILY PIC: At The Box gallery in Los Angeles, Bernstein's "Screw Drawings" show a world poisoned by testosterone.

THE DAILY PIC (#1744): It is a simple, verifiable fact that the greatest evil done in the world has always been done by men. At the height of the medium-sized evil called the Vietnam War, Judith Bernstein made a series of images of phallic screws that expressed, in almost comic terms, the fury we all ought to feel at male depredations. A bunch of Bernstein’s screw drawings are now on display at The Box gallery in Los Angeles.

Today’s Daily Pic is the rarest of those drawings, the never-before-seen Circle Screw, from 1970. It is also the most atypical of them. Its screw, rather than stretching out to penetrate the world, has been engulfed and transformed into a globe. You could read this as portraying a world so thoroughly screwed that it is all screw, all the time.   Or it could also be a more optimistic image of a world that has the power to absorb the screwing force, or wrap it in a sort of force field that undoes its screwing potential.

But for me, Circle Screw most powerfully evokes early anatomical drawings of an eye in cross-section. Vision itself has been screwed – by the male gaze, and also by the maleness that has taken over all gazing.

Even a great feminist artist can’t see things otherwise. (Courtesy The Box, Los Angeles)

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


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