Jennifer Bornstein printed the gallery space. This doesn't mean metaphorically but literally and physically. Monotype prints were pulled from the floor, window, ceiling beams, heating vents, and cracks under the walls. To do this, the architectural elements in the room (doors, beams, etc.) were rolled with oil-based printing inks and images pulled from their surfaces. The footprint of the 30' x 40' gallery floor was jack-hammered with a line running north to south, then inked up like a printing plate and printed using oil-based ink.
Judith Bernstein’s Birth of the Universe is a new and visionary body of work by this New York–based artist. Her provocative art embodies the psychological amalgamation of sex, violence, and feminism in different orders and priorities. In this current series, fluorescent and rich oil paint exemplifies the chaos, violence, and nuclear explosion that was The Big Bang. She probes the origin of space, time, and infinity, using the rage of the active cunt as the primal source in the expanding universe. These paintings delve into issues regarding relationships and gender with a literal dialogue between the active cunt and the phallus. Bernstein’s universe presents intricate connections between individuals, objects, galaxies, and electromagnetic energy. Interactive forces are responsible for all phenomena and the powerful dynamic reflects back to human interaction.
Bernstein attended the Yale School of Art as a graduate student in the 60s, during a time when Yale had an all-male undergraduate program. The gender inequality was extreme. This fact and many others led to her obsession with feminism and political injustices. During this time, Bernstein became fascinated with explicit bathroom drawings. She explains that graffiti is deeper than one can imagine, because when one’s releasing on the toilet, they’re also releasing from their subconscious. In her Fuck Vietnam series (1966-68), she used raw humor and aggression to confront war with graphic, in-your-face words and imagery. “No visual is as crude as war.” In 1970, Bernstein made the leap to drawing hardware screws that morphed into humongous charcoal phallic presences. They are power images that continue to characterize war and feminism. Bernstein’s art is a self-portrait of her ideas and provides a window into her subconscious. Her voice continues to scream.
Frances Stark's newest video installation, Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention Is Free, debuted at the 2013 Carnegie International and is inspired in part by Bobby, a self-described resident of “planet ’hood” who has become the artist's "student, model, apprentice, and guide." Legendary west coast gangster rapper DJ Quik (née David Blake) also plays a role. Lyrics written by Stark are set to Quik's music and projected onto a wall mural with over 80 images. A visual index for the mural is provided in each of the five take-away posters.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new booklet, Trapped in the VIP (2014), which publishes both the textual transcript of Trapped in the VIP and/or In Mr. Martin's Inoperable Cadillac (2012), as well as the lyrical text from Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention Is Free (2013).
Featured tracks are "Catch-22" from the album Trauma (2006) and "Fire and Brimstone" from the album Reading the Book of David (2012).
This is Jennifer Bornstein's third show at GBE. Bornstein lives in New York and Berlin. She has had solo shows at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005). Her work is current on view in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Judith Bernstein’s recent shows include Keep Your Timber Limber at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2013); her solo exhibition Judith Bernstein: Hard at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2012); Sinister Pop at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012); Greater New York: The Comfort of Strangers at MoMA PS1, New York (2010); The Historical Box at Hauser & Wirth, London and Zurich (2011-12). Her work has been acquired by the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Kronhausen Collection, Sweden; Neuberger Museum, New York; and the Brooklyn Museum, New York.
Frances Stark was born in Southern California in 1967 and lives and works in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, in 1993, and currently teaches at the University of Southern California. Solo exhibitions have been presented internationally at MoMA PS1, New York; Performa 11, New York; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, UK; Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany; and Secession, Vienna, Austria.