Kasmin Gallery, NY, 2021
Pandora’s BoxX Project photo by Grace Roselli

Judith Bernstein

Since receiving my MFA from Yale in 1967, my monumental work has garnered my reputation as the unwaveringly provocative artist that I am today. It’s an autobiographical and critical exploration of the connection between the political and the sexual. While at Yale, I began my Fuck Vietnam series (starting in 1966) which were inspired by scatalogical graffiti and were embedded with raucous humor. I later gained art world prominence with my monumental anti-war and Feminist charcoal drawings of anthropomorphic phallic screws, including Horizontal (1973), which was infamously censored at the Philadelphia Civic Center in 1974.  Five Panel Vertical (1973) transforms the screw image into missile-like icons. These artworks address my rage at injustice.

Throughout my career, my work has been my fiercest commitment. I work in intensely focused series, where I get an idea for something and continue to explore it in painting-after-painting, typically on a large scale. When working serially, spontaneity comes into play!

In 1986, I made my first Signature Piece at Hillwood Art Museum. Measuring 14 x 45 feet, the signature was about male posturing, stardom, and my ego. I placed a woman artist at the center! I later revisited this iconic series with my large scale signature as the header for my solo exhibition at New Museum (2012).

For more than the last decade (starting in 2010), I have been working on a trilogy of universe paintings: Birth Universe, connecting all creation with the Big Bang; Death Universe, confronting existential atrocities; and Gasligting Universe, examining the psychological battleground pervasive across personal and political realms. In addition, two of my prominent exhibitions take a stab at Donald Trump and his heinous administration: Cabinet of Horrors (The Drawing Center, NY, 2017) and Money Shot (Kasmin Gallery, NY, 2018). These works showcase my signature fluorescent mark-making for an in-your-face, surreal experience–exhibited under both regular light and blacklight. It’s fun but it’s DEAD SERIOUS!

Solo exhibitions include Gasligting Universe at Karma International, Zurich (2022); Gasligting Forever at Kasmin Gallery, NY (2021); Hot Hands at The Box, LA (2020); Blue Balls at Karma International, Zurich (2019); Money Shot at Kasmin Gallery, NY (2018); Cabinet of Horrors at The Drawing Center, NY (2017); Cock in a Box at The Box, LA (2017); Dicks of Death at Mary Boone Gallery, NY (2016); Voyeur at Mary Boone Gallery, NY (2015); Judith Bernstein: Rising at Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway (2016); Birth of the Universe at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, NY (2014); Rising at Studio Voltaire, London (2014); Judith Bernstein: HARD at the New Museum, NY (2012); and Fuck Vietnam at The Box, LA (2011).

Group exhibitions include Permanent Collection at Kunsthaus Zurich (2021); Seven Stations, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2020); Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, at The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. (2019); United by AIDS, Migros Museum, Zurich (2019); Masculinity at Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany (2019); Human Interest at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (2016); Toys Redux at Migros Museum, Zurich (2015); America Is Hard To See at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (2015); Keep Your Timber Limber at ICA, London (2013); and The Historical Box, Hauser and Wirth, Zurich and London (2011-2012).

Awards include: Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), Hirshhorn Museum Gala Honoree (2022), American Academy of Arts and Letters Award (2019), National Academy Artists-in-Residence (2018), CUE Foundation Honoree (2017), National Academy of the Arts National Academician Award (2016), A.I.R. Feminist Award (2016), Pennsylvania State University Art and Architecture Alumni Award (2011), Joan Mitchell Foundation (2008), Anonymous Was a Woman (2007), Adolph and Asther Gottlieb Foundation (2000), New York Foundation for the Arts (1988), National Endowment for the Arts (1974 and 1985).

Judith Bernstein is represented by Kasmin Gallery, NY, Karma International, Zurich, and The Box, Los Angeles, CA.