I Love New York (2021)
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Bernhardt began painting the Pink Panther after she arrived at the Pink Palace Hotel (also called the Royal Hawai’ian Hotel) located on a sandy beach in Waikiki, Oahu, not far from an eighteen-foot tall bronze sculpture of King Kamehameha I, the greatest Hawai’ian warrior leader who is usually decked out in tons of enormous lei created from eight species of bright pink orchids. The pinkness of this trip continued after she checked into the hotel that featured pink bathroom towels, pink sheets, pink eye masks for sleeping, pink carpeting, pink beach chairs, pink beach towels, pink stationery, pink sunsets, pink pancakes at breakfast, and the Pink Panther on TV screens. After Bernhardt repeatedly watched videos of the panther - lounging atop a huge pink bed and while strolling around the hotel grounds her son, Khalifa continued to watch Pink Panther videos from a cell phone - she decided that the panther could look great on large-scale canvas and large-scale lithographs too.
'I Love New York' is an ode to American graphic designer Milton Glaser (1929-2020) who first created this seemingly simplistic graphic message using American Typewriter font back in 1976, and that went on to become a popular international design icon. Here Bernhardt adds to his positive message by incorporating a joyous Pink Panther—a cartoon character that could be also be interpreted as a self-portrait of the artist. Although Bernhardt recently moved to her hometown of St Louis, she still loves New York and will always love New York as "It is a big exciting city filled with new ideas and possibilities, adventures and fun". Even though she does not currently live in New York City and does not know when (or if) she will move back again, she considers herself a “lifer,” i.e. someone who has made a lifelong commitment to the NY way of living.
Represented by the influential CANADA Gallery, Katherine Bernhardt is a key player in New York's contemporary painting scene. She's collaborated with hip-hop superstar Drake, painted a swimming pool in Miami, created a public mural in LA, and runs her own Moroccan carpet import business. Bernhardt's recent solo shows include the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Lever House New York as well as European solo exhibitions at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels and Carl Freedman, London. Bernhardt was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1975. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.