Sunday, July 31, 2022

Carole Caroompas Artist on Tea With Tosh (RIP Carole)

Carole Caroompas is a fantastic painter, artist, and performer. One of the reasons why I wanted to do "Tea With Tosh" was to expose artists that I greatly admired, and feel that they needed more exposure at the time. This episode was filmed sometime in 1987. It was a moment in time, but alas, due to the magic format of videotape, we can go back to the past. In this sense, it's a great pleasure to spend time with Caroompas, and see her great work as art and performance. - Tosh Berman.

Wallace Berman, "Sound Series No. 2" - Lyrical Cool: A Tribute to Shirley Berman at Kohn Gallery


Wallace Berman, "Sound Series No. 2," 1967-68, Verifax Collage and acrylic.   Exhibited in the show "Lyrical Cool: A Tribute to Shirley Berman.   At the Kohn Gallery, in Los Angeles.
Wallace Berman, "Sound Series No. 2," 1967-68, Verifax Collage and acrylic. Exhibited in the show "Lyrical Cool: A Tribute to Shirley Berman. At the Kohn Gallery, in Los Angeles.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Tosh Berman on John Ashbery's "Something Close To Music" (David Zwirner Books, 2022)


Tosh Berman on John Ashbery's "Something Close to Music

Lyrical Cool: Tribute to Shirley Berman

 Lyrical Cool - Tribute to Shirley Berman

Opening Saturday, July 9th, 2022 5 - 7pm
Exhibition on view through September 10, 2022

“Shirley’s Left Bank extreme kohl eye shadow and lyrical cool defined and challenged any suburban tendency to be nice or safe.” – David Meltzer

In the Spring of 1951, Shirley Morand famously entered the annals of American art history. Standing in line at the art house Coronet Theater to see Jean Cocteau’s surrealist classic The Blood of a Poet, she was approached by then-unknown artist Wallace Berman. Their chance encounter would put the couple at the forefront of the counterculture movement, with Wallace as the hipster-mystic artist and Shirley as the soft-spoken, steadfast first lady of California cool.

Like Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas before them, the Bermans cultivated a social sphere unbeholden to the commercial art world. With friends like Dennis Hopper, George Herms, and Bruce Conner, the couple acted as a locus of the West Cost film, dance, and literature scenes. Shirley’s presence helped to facilitate these environments, allowing the opportunity for creative collaboration.

Not a practicing artist herself, Shirley occupied the dual roles of observer and subject, at once a center of the orbit and a cause of its fascination. With her elfin beauty and preternatural poise, Shirley Berman embodied a type of ethereal femininity that encompassed the evolution of postwar American womanhood. As captured by the likes of Charles Brittin, Patricia Jordan, and Edmund Teske, Shirley conveys glamorous, yet unpretentious sophistication, whether superimposed onto double exposure of ruinous landscapes or floating supine on water like an Egyptian goddess.

Kohn Gallery’s “Lyrical Cool: A Tribute to Shirley Berman,” celebrates the unique legacy of this inspirational but lesser-known woman, who passed away in early 2022 at the age of 88. Curated by Karl Puchlik, the exhibition will present never-before-shown portraits of Berman, as well as original works drawn from her private collection, including Wallace Berman, Charles Brittin, Bruce Conner, George Herms, Lun*na Menoh, Dean Stockwell, Edmund Teske, and others. An accompanying catalog will feature an extended interview with Berman by Claudia Bohn-Spector, illuminating the underappreciated role of women in the Beat Generation as well as an essay by Bohn-Spector and Tosh Berman, son of Shirley and Wallace Berman.