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