Brigid Berlin: The Heaviest to Open at Vito Schnabel Gallery in June




Postcard collage from David Whitney to Brigid Berlin, 1970, 6 x 4 1/3 inches (15.24 x 11.01 cm); Collection of Jordan and Kathleen Pike

In the New York art scene of the mid-1960s and early ‘70s, Brigid Berlin achieved the rarest of feats by becoming an essential member of both of the two opposing spheres of the downtown creative classes gathered at Max’s Kansas City, the definitive watering hole of the avant-garde. She was a fixture in the queer délire of the back room, where Andy Warhol held court among his Factory Superstars, drag queens, and other hangers-on. At the same time, Berlin was equally welcomed by “the heavies” in the front of the bar: the mostly male, infamously macho crowd of carousing artists that included Willem de Kooning, John Chamberlain, Larry Rivers, Donald Judd, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, James Rosenquist, and Brice Marden, among others. Berlin not only penetrated these distinct precincts of the clubby art establishment, but conspired with them, occasionally collaborating on artworks, and even going so far as to turn them into muses for her own polymorphic, deeply conceptual oeuvre. Brigid Berlin was one of them: anartist on equal footing, the heaviest of the heavies.

“You don’t call yourself an ‘artist’ – if others want to, that’s up to them.”
— Brigid Berlin

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