As a way to offer an artistic respite amidst the current state of the world, each week we are highlighting one of Karma International’s artists with a distanced display of works hung visibly in the front space of our Zürich gallery.
To introduce our Storefront Show series, we bring you a Judith Bernstein interview about her new show up at the gallery!
We were delighted to catch up with the beloved New York artist and speak about her absolutely iconic phallic paintings.
When did you first begin your Dick In A Head series? How did you come up with the idea?
Judith Bernstein: The Dick in a Head series evolved from my FUCK VIETNAM paintings that I made when I was a student at Yale in 1966. I made a painting titled Cockman Shall Rise Again and the subject was the reactionary governor of Alabama, George Wallace. Recently, I repurposed the imagery to depict President Trump. Two inspirational dickheads!
I began this series series specifically in 2008. I got the idea from making charcoal drawings of heads—and sexuality originates in the head. In these drawings the heads are multiple phalluses: the eyeballs and nose are one phallus, and the second phallus also uses the eyeballs and the protrusion from the head. Two dicks in one head! Never enough!
As with much of your work, this is motif exists specifically as a series of repetitions with many different iterations. How has this body of work evolved over time?
JB: I started the series working only in charcoal, and it evolved into gorgeous pastels with great color. They were originally more abstracted, and the series has become more literal over time. Each dick is a different head! Each dick is a kick in the head!! Much fun—and I nailed it!!
Your art is so often filled with a radical, political spirit. Do you feel like this series speaks to the contemporary climate?
JB: In every era, there are always dickheads around—especially now! Globally, from the US president, everyday acquaintances, and on down. There’s no end to dickheads!
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