Buhmann on Art: ‘Cabinet of Horrors’ at The Drawing Center

In the foreground of this installation shot, one of the drawn “dollar bills.” | Photo courtesy The Drawing Center

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN | Born in 1942, Judith Bernstein has long created radical drawings that address her feminist and anti-war activism. However, it was only recently, at the age of 72, that she finally achieved massive critical acclaim. Today, her oeuvre does not only seem as current as ever, but her unabashed, fearless outspokenness is much-needed. This well-timed exhibition presents a new body of work, made after last year’s elections, which was specifically commissioned by The Drawing Center.

Eighteen new drawings, four large-scale paper panel murals, a series of drawn “dollar bills,” and vintage piggy banks in vitrines make up the installation, while a series of free political campaign pins designed by Bernstein are available to all at the museum entrance. Like the painter Marilyn Minter, who recently curated a fantastic pop-up store with protest-inspired objects designed by various artists for the Brooklyn Museum, Bernstein calls for waking up to resistance. For Bernstein, engagement has never stopped. In fact, she began addressing social issues in her work in the 1960s, beginning with anti-Vietnam drawings and by creating monumental phalluses. Serving as a nod to these roots, one of Bernstein’s earliest political drawings from 1969 opens “Cabinet of Horrors.” However, the core of the installation manifests as one powerful and outspoken critique of the current administration, in many cases by utilizing Trump’s own language.

An installation shot of vintage piggy banks. | Photo courtesy The Drawing Center

Through Feb. 4 at The Drawing Center (35 Wooster St., btw. Grand & Broome Sts.). Hours: Wed., Fri., Sat. & Sun., 12–6pm & Thurs., 12–8pm (free every Thurs., 6–8pm). General admission, $5 ($3 for students/seniors, free for children under 12). Call 212-219-2166 or visit drawingcenter.org.

Judith Bernstein: “Seal of Disbelief” (2017. Mixed media on paper
. 96 x 96 inches). | Image courtesy the artist

 

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