Rabble-Rousing Artist Judith Bernstein Joins Paul Kasmin Gallery With Anti-Trump Show
The feminist artist is unveiling Trump-inspired protest paintings across New York.
The firebrand feminist artist Judith Bernstein has joined Paul Kasmin Gallery’s roster—and she is planning a rip-roaring debut.
For her first exhibition with the gallery, scheduled to open on January 18, Bernstein will present seven massive, never-before-seen fluorescent paintings that tackle the Trump administration. The works will be illuminated with a black light so they appear to “vibrate from the wall,” Bernstein tells artnet News. “You’ll get an otherworldly experience, which is also the feeling you get while Donald Trump is president.”
Bernstein first began painting Trump-inspired works during last year’s presidential campaign. She picked up speed after the election. This week, another group of works inspired by Trump will go on view in a solo exhibition at the Drawing Center in New York.
Bernstein, whose work was censored from a group show in Philadelphia in 1974 and avoided by the mainstream art establishment for years, has recently been enjoying something of a comeback tour. She had a solo presentation in the lobby gallery of the New Museum in 2013 and shows with Mary Boone in 2015 and 2016. Last week, her Los Angeles gallery The Box presented her drawings in a special section at the Frieze Art Fair titled “Sex Work: Feminist Art & Radical Politics.”
Throughout her career, Bernstein has tackled politics with a mixture of humor, provocation, and incisive critique. The Drawing Center show, “Judith Bernstein: Cabinet of Horrors,” will include her earliest political drawing from 1969. Inspired by Richard Nixon, it features a flag bearing a phallus waving over the White House. (The show also presents 18 new drawings, a vitrine filled with vintage piggy banks, free campaign pins, and bright orange walls. “We painted them six times to get the right color,” Bernstein says.)
Her political convictions haven’t always helped her get ahead. “It’s more complicated when you do political work and it’s harder to sell,” she says. “A lot of galleries don’t want to show political work, because they have collectors who are for Trump.”
Nevertheless, Bernstein has no plans to hold back for the Kasmin exhibition. “Donald Trump is a fool, a monster, a sexist, a racist, and a con man,” she says. She decided to title the show “Money Shot” because, she notes, “Trump is using the government like his own personal cash machine.”
“Judith Bernstein: Cabinet of Horrors” is on view at the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, October 13, 2017–February 4, 2018. “Money Shot” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Avenue, New York, January 18–March 3, 2018.
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