Judith Bernstein’s Money Shot

at Paul Kasmin Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban

Judith Bernstein’s work has always been brazenly in-your-face. In the early-to-mid 1970s the self-styled “proto-feminist” was best-known for her huge charcoal drawings of hairy, phallic screws, one of which was censored from a museum show in Philadelphia in 1974, despite a petition signed by Louise Bourgeois and John Coplans. A co-founder of the alternative gallery, A.I.R., which showed only female artists, she more or less disappeared from the art world until 2012, when the New Museum featured “Hard,” a show of her large-scale work, including a 66-foot long mural painted directly onto its lobby windows, followed by two shows at Mary Boone in 2015 and 2016.

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Money Shot, Shooters

As emphatically evidenced by her debut show at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, Money Shot, on view through March 3, those forty-something intervening years have done nothing to diminish Bernstein’s stance as a maverick provocateur–or her use of genitalia as a major motif. As canny as she is funny, Bernstein has found a perfect target for her angry art in our fake-news president, Donald Trump. Using an acid-tinged palette and sweeping gestural strokes, as well as a furious array of male and female private parts, Bernstein makes merry mincemeat of America’s leader, here graphically depicted as “Schlongface,” whose features consist, of course, of a cock and balls.

Bernstein had already taken some significant swings at Trump in Cabinet of Horrors, an October, 2017 solo show commissioned by The Drawing Center, which featured large-scale works on paper and murals. At Kasmin, she has dramatically upped the ante of her anti-Trump visual rant, with eight wall-size, black-lit pieces that are equal parts savage criticism and (literally — note the repeated vagina dentata) biting humor.

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President

Read the entire review at Riot Material magazine: http://www.riotmaterial.com/judith-bernsteins-money-shot/

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