GQ
Artist Katherine Bernhardt Image Credit: GQ
Artist Katherine Bernhardt Image Credit: GQ

Artist Katherine Bernhardt

Meet Katherine Bernhardt, the so-called “female bad-boy” of contemporary art.

Scott Indrisek

WHEN I STARTED, I wanted to pain things that had nothing to do with each other, that made no sense,” says Katherine Bernhardt. “That was the goal: nothingness. And what were the brightest, craziest color combinations I could come up with, that would clash?”

Bernhardt—44 years old, sporting a Daisy Duck T-shirt, enormous earrings from a local fabric store, and flashy neon-pink-laced Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35s with a floral print— is holding court in her studio, a converted auto-repair shop in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. She pegs her personal style as “tropical, futuristic hippie,” and that’s not far off from some of the paintings she makes; space is brimming with huge works that exude an eye-popping swagger. In one, a spray-painted Pink Panther hangs out with two high-speed bullet trains modeled on the Shinkansen that Bernhardt rode with her son during a recent trip to Japan. A wobbly painting of the infamous oversized Triple S sneaker by Balenciaga outs her as a sneakerhead. (She’s also enough of a Nike fanatic that she has her own hand-drawn swoosh tattoo.) There’s a massive pile of soft sculpture gummy worms stacked up in one corner, leftovers from Concrete Jungle Jungle Love, a 2017 takeover of New York’s Lever House, for which Bernhardt created a sprawling environment. “Now that I look back at it, it was kind of too much,” she reflects. “Too much color,


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