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Election 2020 anxiety? Tap painter Judith Bernstein’s rage

Fury against toxic masculinity comes through in Judith Bernstein’s crude, raw canvases in wildly funny ways. An election antidote.

Nothing channels the vibe of our political moment quite like large canvases of toxic masculinity. (Just like cable news!) Except in this version, phalluses rendered in bright, comic book colors have met their match: toothy vaginas that appear to devour them. Plus, it’s all visible under blacklight, making this viewing experience less Fox News and more vertiginous funhouse of pesky dongs.

Welcome to “Hot Hands,” Judith Bernstein’s bawdy, funny, righteously exasperated solo exhibition at the Box gallery in downtown Los Angeles. It’s all the steroid madness of our political system, but captured through a lens of acidic lady rage.

And in the middle of an election that has left me despondent (seriously, how much cash should I be stockpiling for the downfall of democracy?), it feels like a call to arms — one that involves plenty of angrily scrawled genitals and buckets of bathroom humor. When our looming conflict erupts, I will fight in the Army of Judith Bernstein.

As Bernstein told the New York Times Style Magazine during a studio visit in 2017: “My work is sexual. My work is political. And my work is feminist. It has visual impact. It’s fun. But it’s dead serious.”


Dead serious about calling the powerful to the mat for their abuses.

“Death of the Universe #1,” 2018, by Judith Bernstein, part of the artist’s solo show “Hot Hands” at the Box gallery in Los Angeles. (Judith Bernstein)

“Hot Hands” brings together recent works from various series by the artist, including her anti-Donald Trump paintings, made in the first few years of the Trump administration, which feature a presidential figure called “Trumpenschlong” made out…

Carolina A. Miranda

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