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Arts and Entertainment

SHE: It's Art, It's Women, It's Auto-Sexuality

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We caught this photo of the car with images of women wrapped around it being installed into an art gallery earlier this week and had to find out more. The best source? Why the curator, of course. Kristine McKenna, a critic and journalist, curated SHE: Images of Women by Wallace Berman and Richard Prince, which opens tonight at the Michael Kohn Gallery on Beverly.

Both featured artists--Berman, the father of the assemblage movement and Prince, known for photographs of advertisements--share a common subject: Women, the archetypes and the fantasies.

What makes this exhibition important?

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Richard hasn't been seen on the west coast in quite a while, and he's showing all new work, so we're very excited about that. And, it's always significant when the public gets a chance to see work by Wallace Berman. He's one of the most important artists L.A. has produced, and he's been generally overlooked by the local museums. Several of his works in the show are from private collections and have never been exhibited, so we feel very fortunate to have them on the walls. As for Richard and Wallace together; both of them are radical artists who incorporate sexuality in their work in a really unorthodox fashion.

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Why did you choose works by Wallace Berman and Richard Prince? What is the connection?

I was preparing to give a talk on Wallace and was looking at his work rather intently;; during that period I got a copy of the catalogue for Richard's recent show at the Serpentine, and in perusing it I was struck by the fact that women play a central role in work by both artists. And, I know Richard really respects Wallace's work, so it seemed like a natural pairing.

Will you tell us about the Richard Prince designed by car that is being installed at Michael Kohn Gallery?

The car is an El Camino that's been covered in the kind of vinyl wrapping used for the advertisements on the sides of buses. Richard's car is covered with images of topless women evocative of car culture and biker magazine. He's done several of these cars -- there were two in his Serpentine show -- but this is the first time one's been seen on the west coast.

What work by each artist stands out?

My favorite work by Richard in the show is a large photograph called "Camo Girl." It's a life size portrait of a nude girl covered in camofolage body paint, brandishing a bow and arrow. The Berman work that especially interests me is a photograph he took of the artist Cameron. Berman often used photos in his work, but he used them as a collage element; this is the only straight photograph of his that I've ever seen.

The exhibition is on view January 15 through March 7 at the Michael Kohn Gallery. An
opening reception is tonight, January 15, from 6.30-8.30 p.m.