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Katherine Bernhardt’s Funky Fruit Salad Mural Enlivens LA Art Hotspot

By Cait Munro

Katherine Bernhardt‘s Fruit Salad, while certainly a feast for the eyes, isn’t necessarily the kind of summer treat you’d want to eat.

The brightly colored mural, which debuted at Venus Over Los Angeles this past weekend, features plenty of watermelon slices, cantaloupes, and bananas, but they’re interspersed with decidedly less edible elements such as cigarettes, toucans, and, on the building’s garage door, a motif of sharks and toilet paper.

It’s a funky hodgepodge perfectly suited to one of L.A.’s newest and most promising art hot spots, where it will remain indefinitely. It also touts Bernhardt’s upcoming show at the gallery’s original New York headquarters, which will open on September 9.

Inspired by a recent trip to Puerto Rico, the Venus Over New York show will echo the imagery in the mural. “It’s basically just things that don’t go together,” Bernhardt, who is primarily based in Brooklyn, told artnet News during a telephone interview. “But it’s also based on African prints.”

Bernhardt and her team painted the mural, which is her first public art project, over the course of about two weeks, and created a time-lapse video to document their process.

“It’s totally different [than being in the studio], because you’re like out in the public the whole time,” she says. “But luckily, the gallery is in this area where there’s no one really over there anyway.”

Fruit Salad is a bright and spirited intervention in a rapidly gentrifying section of downtown L.A., in between the Santa Ana Freeway and the LA River. The area will soon house Maccarone Gallery’s West Coast space, across the river from the Arts District.

Katherine Bernhardt’s Fruit Salad will be at Venus Over Los Angeles indefinitely. “Pablo and Efrain” will be on display at Venus Over New York from September 9–October 24, 2015.  

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