Purple Art

[October 27 2012]

Judith Bernstein: Hard, at the New Museum, New York

For over forty years, New York-based artist Judith Bernstein (b. 1942, Newark, NJ) has created expressive drawings and paintings that boldly address the underlying psychological connection between warfare and sexual aggression. Her provocative pieces have direct impact yet also carry nuanced meanings and allusions. As a student at Yale in the ’60s, Bernstein developed a fascination with the graffiti she found in men’s restrooms, images that would later inform the basis of her work. Within these crude sexual scrawlings, Bernstein discovered a window into the male subconscious as well as her own. Her works from this period, predating the wave of feminist artworks in the early ’70s, assert female rights and critique militarism and machismo in a manner that is at once humorous and threatening. Her mordant antiwar and antisexist statements bristle with the political activism and fury that characterized the Vietnam War ear, and continue to resonate viscerally today.

Photo Olivier Zahm


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