press release

Opening Reception: January 15, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present a special exhibition, SHE: Images of Women by Wallace Berman & Richard Prince, guest curated by Kristine McKenna. Opening on January 15, SHE draws connections between these two world-renowned contemporary artists and the common subtext that courses through their work: Women, the archetypes and the fantasies. Featuring works from 1958 to 2008, SHE will be on view through March 7, 2009 at Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles.

SHE features previously unseen works by Berman as well as representative pieces from Prince's signature series, Nurses and Girlfriends, and the debut of his Car-—a 1986 El Camino automobile with images from his Girlfriends series superimposed on the car's body. In the 1960s, Wallace Berman (1949-1976) became an extremely prominent figure in the counterculture movements of Los Angeles and San Francisco. He helped shape the artistic sensibility of the Beat generation as a master of assemblage and editor of Semina, a mail art publication. A generation later, Richard Prince gained notoriety in the 1980s for his rephotographs and appropriating popular media into his collages and paintings.

Highlights of SHE include Richard Prince's Nurse collages, a careful selection of Girlfriend photographs, a collaged mailbox sculpture, and finally Car. Car is the third in a series of cult cars that are wrapped in vinyl and printed with images of Prince's infamous Girlfriends (rephotographs of biker girls found in motorcycle magazines), one of which was shown this past June at the Serpentine Gallery in London in Prince's show, Continuation. Wallace Berman will be represented by a series of previously unseen single-image Verifax collages, a body of rarely exhibited mailers from the collection of Teri Garr, inserts from his limited edition, hand-made artists magazine, Semina, selections from his recently discovered body of photographic portraiture, and several unique works incorporating images which were considered "pornography" at the time.

Catalogue The exhibition, SHE: Images of Women by Wallace Berman & Richard Prince, will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue of the works designed by Lorraine Wild of Green Dragon Office. It will include an essay by Kristine McKenna and an interview with Richard Prince. The catalogue is published by Michael Kohn Gallery.

About Wallace Berman Considered by many to be the father of the assemblage movement, Wallace Berman (1949-1976) was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York. He began his career making sculptures from unused scraps and reject materials while working in an antique furniture factory. By the early 1950s, Berman had become an artist and active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication, Semina, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by Berman. In 1963, Berman moved to Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area, and began work on verifax collages (printed images, often from magazines and newspapers, mounted in collage fashion onto a flat surface, sometimes with solid bright areas of acrylic paint). He continued creating these works, as well as rock assemblages, until his death in 1976. Berman's work is included in public collections at numerous institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

About Richard Prince Richard Prince first gained critical attention in the early 1980s when his photographs of magazine advertisements redefined the autonomies of authorship and ownership and the very nature of representation. Prince's best known work about women is the Nurse series. Begun in 2002, and taking the covers of pulp novels as their point of departure, the Nurse paintings are studies in a contained sexuality that leaks out and stains the entire canvas. In addition to Nurses, Prince's Girlfriends exude a raunchy power so extreme that it verges on the comical, though it is anything but funny. Prince was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone and lives and works in upstate New York. His work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and most recently at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

About Kristine McKenna, guest curator Kristine McKenna is a widely published critic and journalist. Her profiles and criticism have appeared in Artforum, Artnews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone Magazine, and she was the recipient of a National Endowment Arts Administration grant in 1976. She is producer and co-writer of the documentary The Cool School. Her 2007 monograph Wallace Berman Photographs, co-written with Lorraine Wild, was selected as one of the 50 best art books of the year by the A.I.G.A. Her monograph Los Angeles: Photographs by Ann Summa, will be published in the spring of 2009. Currently, she is collaborating on Feral Institutions, a survey of rogue organizations in Los Angeles, and McKenna is organizing an exhibition of West Coast assemblages for the California Folk Art Museum that opens in April 2009.

About Michael Kohn Gallery Established in Los Angeles in 1985, Michael Kohn Gallery has exhibited the work of 20th-century artists from Picasso to Warhol, Bruce Conner, Wallace Berman, and John McLaughlin, with a focus on representing the work of mid-career artists from California, New York, and Europe such as Maureen Gallace, Mark Innerst, James Nares, Darren Waterston, Guy Limone, and Walton Ford. The gallery also extends its programming to introduce emerging and established artists such as Los Angeles-based artists Christine Ngyuen, David Korty, Dennis Hollingsworth, and Mark Ryden.

The Kohn Gallery has exhibited the work of Andy Warhol (during his lifetime), Richard Tuttle, Peter Halley, Dan Flavin, Mark Tansey, Lorna Simpson, Maureen Gallace, Christopher Wool, and Bruce Conner, among many other notable and talented artists. For nearly 25 years the Michael Kohn Gallery has maintained a space in Los Angeles.

Michael Kohn Gallery is located at 8071 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048 Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 6pm; Saturday, 11am – 6pm

SHE: Images of Women by Wallace Berman & Richard Prince