Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower | David Zwirner
A detail of a painting by Katherine Bernhardt titled Fungi Bathing, dated 2022

Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?

David Zwirner is pleased to present its first exhibition with American painter Katherine Bernhardt (b. 1975) since announcing representation of the St. Louis–based artist in 2021. Taking place at the gallery’s London location, the exhibition will feature new large-scale paintings that include motifs from Bernhardt’s unique visual lexicon, which culls from an irreverent American pop vernacular as well as her own life and the broader culture. These works crackle with electrifying colour and the artist’s lively brushwork, and feature familiar imagery such as the Pink Panther, Garfield, and E.T., in addition to fresh subjects like Ditto from Pokémon, Crocs shoes, psilocybin mushrooms, and bathroom showers.

This will be Bernhardt’s first solo presentation in London since 2015. To coincide with the exhibition, the gallery will launch an online viewing room with associated works on paper.

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Image: Katherine Bernhardt, Fungi Bathing, 2022 (detail)

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: why is a mushroom growing in my shower?

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

Katherine Bernhardt is known for her unique visual lexicon, which draws from an irreverent American pop vernacular as well as her own life and the broader culture. In her first exhibition with David Zwirner since joining the gallery in 2021, the artist presents new large-scale paintings that crackle with electrifying color and her distinct, lively brushwork.

The monumental paintings feature Bernhardt’s familiar motifs, including the Pink Panther, Garfield, and E.T., while bringing in fresh subjects such as Ditto from Pokémon, Crocs footwear, magic mushrooms, and even bathroom showers as both a setting for these outlandish forms as well as a space to brainstorm ideas.

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Green Balenciaga Croc Poncho Pikachu Panther Cigarettes, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Green Balenciaga Croc Poncho Pikachu Panther Cigarettes, 2021
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)

Katherine Bernhardt in her studio, St. Louis, 2022. Video by Elizabeth Bernhardt

“Bernhardt has shown herself to be an entirely unique painter of our times, chronicling her life and the larger culture through a daring painterly technique and an expansive sense of form and space.”

 

—Nicole Rudick, art critic

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Diplo, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Diplo, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
72 x 78 inches (182.9 x 198.1 cm)
Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: why is a mushroom growing in my shower?

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

The paintings touch on contemporary trends, including the return of pop culture’s obsession with mushrooms and our increasing predilection for comfortable shoes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bernhardt draws inspiration from the design of Crocs shoes and the brand’s many collaborations, which she pays homage to in a monumentally scaled painting on the gallery’s first floor. Crocs World (2022) features the heeled green Balenciaga Crocs, the Crocs x Carrots collaboration, Bad Bunny’s glow-in-the dark Crocs, and the mushroom-sprouting Crocs designed by music producer Diplo. 

A Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt of The KFC x Crocs collaboration, featuring realistic drumstick charms, and the Crocs x Diplo shoes in Bernhardt’s studio, 2022.

The KFC x Crocs collaboration, featuring realistic drumstick charms, and the Crocs x Diplo shoes in Bernhardt’s studio, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

The KFC x Crocs collaboration, featuring realistic drumstick charms, and the Crocs x Diplo shoes in Bernhardt’s studio, 2022. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

A Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt  of Katherine Bernhardt in her Bad Bunny x Crocs shoes in front of Crocs World, a large painting that draws from the shoes’ iconography.

Katherine Bernhardt in her Bad Bunny x Crocs shoes in front of Crocs World, a large painting that draws from the shoes’ iconography. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

Katherine Bernhardt in her Bad Bunny x Crocs shoes in front of Crocs World, a large painting that draws from the shoes’ iconography. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Crocs Sampler Sharks Iguana, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Crocs Sampler Sharks Iguana, 2021
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Trip, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Trip, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
A Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt of Katherine Bernhardt in her St. Louis studio with a pair of shoes designed by Diplo in collaboration with Crocs.

Katherine Bernhardt in her St. Louis studio with a pair of shoes designed by Diplo in collaboration with Crocs. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

Katherine Bernhardt in her St. Louis studio with a pair of shoes designed by Diplo in collaboration with Crocs. Photo by Elizabeth Bernhardt

The limited-edition Diplo Crocs, launched in 2021 and featuring swirls, lights, and sprouting 3D glow-in-the-dark fungi, inspired Bernhardt to look into mushrooms as a subject for her paintings. 

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Mycology, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Mycology, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)

These new works also recall art-historical and architectural precedents that speak to a particular mode of postwar domestic life, including the shower paintings of David Hockney, the tiled bathrooms in William Eggleston’s color photographs, and Superstudio’s furniture overlaid with orthogonal grids from the 1970s.

David Hockney, Man in Shower in Beverly Hills, 1964 (detail) and Jean-Pierre Raynaud's La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud, Paris, opened in 1974

Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud, Paris, opened in 1974

Jean-Pierre Raynaud’s La Maison de La Celle-Saint-Cloud, Paris, opened in 1974

A detail photograph by William Eggleston, called UNTITLED [PINK BATHROOM], 1970–1973

William Eggleston, Untitled [Pink Bathroom], 1970–1973 (detail)

William Eggleston, Untitled [Pink Bathroom], 1970–1973 (detail)

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Clean Garfield, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Clean Garfield, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)

Many of Bernhardt’s new canvases show improbable scenarios in various tiled-bathroom interiors whose chromatic combinations are derived from bathrooms Bernhardt herself has designed.

Coinciding with the exhibition, the gallery presents an online feature with related works on paper featuring Bernhardt’s tiled-bathroom interiors.

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Fungi Bathing, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Fungi Bathing, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
120 x 96 inches (304.8 x 243.8 cm)

“This particular body of work focuses on Crocs, mushrooms, and showers—sometimes Crocs taking showers, and sometimes mushrooms taking a shower. Also other characters taking a shower.”


—Katherine Bernhardt

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Cigarettes Taking a Shower, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Cigarettes Taking a Shower, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Forest Bathing, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Forest Bathing, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)

“These differentiated objects become something totally and completely graphic in her hands. They’re also extremely nonsensical.… It’s this juxtaposition of the things that don’t necessarily make sense together where she finds that both visual but also kind of metaphorical relationships grow.”


—Lisa Melandri, executive director, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Panther Cros Iguanas, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Panther Crocs Iguanas, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: why is a mushroom growing in my shower?

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt: Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?, David Zwirner, London, 2022

An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Diplo, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Diplo, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
72 x 78 inches (182.9 x 198.1 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Diplo Croc Smurf Panther Ditto Toilet Paper, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Diplo Croc Smurf Panther Ditto Toilet Paper, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Green Balenciaga Croc Poncho Pikachu Panther Cigarettes, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Green Balenciaga Croc Poncho Pikachu Panther Cigarettes, 2021
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Forest Bathing, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Forest Bathing, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Panther Cros Iguanas, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Panther Crocs Iguanas, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Crocs Sampler Sharks Iguana, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Crocs Sampler Sharks Iguana, 2021
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Ditto World, dated 2021.

Katherine Bernhardt

Ditto World, 2021
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Trip, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Trip, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Fungi Bathing, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Fungi Bathing, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
120 x 96 inches (304.8 x 243.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Crocs World, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Crocs World, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
120 x 276 inches (304.8 x 701 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Mycophobe, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Mycophobe, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Mycophilo Shower, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Mycophile Shower, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 304.8 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Mycology, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Mycology, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Cigarettes Taking a Shower, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Cigarettes Taking a Shower, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)
An acrylic and spray paint on canvas artwork by Katherine Bernhardt, titled Clean Garfield, dated 2022.

Katherine Bernhardt

Clean Garfield, 2022
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
78 x 72 inches (198.1 x 182.9 cm)

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          Why is a mushroom growing in my shower?

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