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Barnett Cohen's paintings, performances, and mixed media works collectively serve as meditations on the space between thought and the self and between the self and the body.

Barnett Cohen
October 21 2020, 2020
Stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
29 x 33 inches

Barnett Cohen, October 21 2020, 2020 (detail)

Barnett Cohen
September 17 2020, 2020
Stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
58 x 64 inches

Barnett Cohen, Installation view, Los Angeles, 2021

Cohen's recent collage paintings are made from found stickers, a mass material most often used on our cars, laptops and objects to brand them, and ourselves, with the identity of our choosing.

Barnett Cohen,
Jan 5 2020, 2020
Stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
29 x 33 inches

Barnett Cohen,
November 17 2020, 2020
Stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
29 x 33 inches

Barnett Cohen, November 17 2020, 2020 (detail)

They are constellations of contemporary mark making and chronicle the vast array of language and imagery as it moves through public space.

Barnett Cohen
March 13 2020, 2020
stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
24 × 36 inches

Barnett Cohen
Yellow, 2020
Stickers, uv polycote, acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
29 × 32 inches

Barnett Cohen, Yellow, 2020 (detail)

After researching and sourcing the stickers, he die cuts each one, dipping it in an acrylic liquid polymer, and thoughtfully situates it on the canvas.

Barnett Cohen, Studio, Los Angeles

Stickers like these often act as self-declarations, but in these works, the overload of content—branding, language and pop culture references—puts these declarations on shaky ground, as no singular identity can rise above the colorful deluge.

Barnett Cohen
Untitled 2, 2019
Stickers and acrylic liquid polymer on canvas
58 × 64 inches

Barnett Cohen
Nothing Means Nothing and Everything Is Too Much, 2019
stickers on canvas
58 × 64 inches

The flood of disjointed bits of text and image embedded in these works is linked to Cohen's use of language in his performances.

Barnett Cohen, SOMETHINNNGISALWAYSSSSWRONGGGG
Performance
Joan, Los Angeles, 2019

 
Originating out of a daily practice of automatic writing, Cohen’s scripts begin as stream of consciousness verse, and result in performances that test the limits of language and the ability to connect with others.

SOMETHINNNNGISALWAYSSSSWRONGGGG posits that a radical conversation with our feelings, to better acquaint ourselves with why we do what we do, might be the first step toward revolutionary action.
 

Barnett Cohen, SOMETHINNNGISALWAYSSSSWRONGGGG
Performance
Joan, Los Angeles, 2019

 
"Written entirely in verse, Cohen’s script peaks and plummets, its darkest moments met with absurd humor. Tirades culminating in outbursts precede restrained, matter-of-fact statements. As if scrolling through a news feed, topics like environmental degradation and police brutality filter in and out. One performer wonders, passively, “Where do all the plastic bins painted with peanut butter end up? Is that smog in the distance coating my lungs from afar?” -Hanna Spears

Barnett Cohen, Congrats and Condolences
Performance
Neutra VDL House
Los Angeles, 2019

 
 

Barnett Cohen, Congrats and Condolences
Performance
Neutra VDL House
Los Angeles, 2019

 
His aim is to create pieces that are strange yet approachable while remaining slightly confrontational but fundamentally honest. Not a play, a piece of theater or a performance. But something between all those three concepts.

Barnett Cohen,
Approach Gesture Response
Performance
REDCAT
Los Angeles, 2020

 

Barnett Cohen, Approach Gesture Response
Performance
REDCAT
Los Angeles, 2020

 

Barnett Cohen

Education

2014

California Institute of the Arts, M.F.A., Art


2009

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts


2005

Vassar College, BA, English


Solo Exhibitions

2021

JDJ, Garrison, NY (forthcoming)

2019

JOAN, Los Angeles

LAXART (with Emily Mast), Los Angeles

Mast on Fig, Los Angeles

Pieter Space, Los Angeles

The VDL House, Los Angeles

2016

A Person, A Thought, An Interruption, City Limits, Oakland, CA


2015

Barnett Cohen & Kim Ye, Venice 6114, Los Angeles, CA


2014

Sad Last Days, A gallery, Seattle, WA


Sometimes Glorious, The Virtual Public Art Project


Sometimes Glorious, D301, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


2013

Blowing Off Steam, Main Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


Selected Group Exhibitions

2020

REDCAT Studio, Los Angeles

2019

HOME/WORK, JDJ, Garrison, NY

2018

An Afternoon of Performances at the House of the Book, Los Angeles, CA


2017

Amplify Compassion, 356 Mission, Los Angeles, CA


2016

Sibling Rivalries, The Torrance Museum of Art, Torrance, CA


2015

Live Action, MINT Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Beverly’s @ Material Fair, Mexico City, Mexico

Surf Club, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA


2014

Atomic Pictures, La Galerie SEE Studio, Paris, France

Fun For Summer, The CoWorkers Project, New York, NY

Motion Tracking, Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Shrink it, Pink it, Cathouse FUNeral, Brooklyn, NY


2013

Beverly’s at Untitled, Miami, FL

What It Is, A404, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

4×4, A402, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

NOW, Cigar Factory Artists Studios, Allentown, PA

Fault Lines, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA

Dons of Civilization, Beverly’s, New York, NY


2012

Contemporary Video Series, ATHICA, Athens, GA

French Oyster Club, Miami, FL

Small Prints, Flash Forward, Boston, MA


2011

Macabre & Mysticism, Red Roots Gallery, New York, NY

Condition X, The SVA Westside Gallery, New York, NY

Provocation, NY Photo Festival, powerHouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY

Moment of Recognition, ICP, NY NY

Press

A Reimagining of a 1974 Performance of Art and Food, Hyperallergic, March 11, 2020
Hannah Spears & Asha Bukojemsky on SOMETHINNNGISALWAYSSSSWRONGGGG, Riting, Feb 28, 2020
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon Has Been Shaking Up Design for Seven Decades, Hyperallergic, August 7, 2019
Barnett Cohen Entrusts The Viewer To Interpret, Art of Choice, July 23, 2019
A Gallery That Feels Like a Friend’s Upstate Cabin, T Magazine, The New York Times, July 12, 2019
Samara Kaplan on congrats and condolences by Barnett Cohen, Riting, April 25, 2019 MacDowell Colony Awards Fellowships to Eighty-Six Artists, Artforum, Jan 22, 2019
MacDowell Colony Awards Fellowships to 86 Artists, Artnews, Jan 22, 2019
Performances About Learning, Set in a Fictional Classroom, Hyperallergic, January 22, 2018
The Agenda: This Week in Los Angeles, Art in America, January 13, 2016
Dan Levenson Interview, CARLA, September 2015
#studio#visit#withdevin#kenny, CARLA ISSUE I , March 2015
Barnett: Cohen: Artist of the Week, LVL3 Media, March 2015
Irena Jurek talks Honesty and Sex with Barnett Cohen, nyartsmagazine.com , January 2014
Scrapped, Volume 2, August 2013
Taking Up Residency, The School of Visual Arts Magazine, Fall 2011, Volume 19, Number 2

Awards & Residencies

2020 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant Nominee
2019 MacDowell Fellowship
2012 Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture