June 6 – July 31, 2013
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand
16, rue du Simplon, CH-1207 Genève
T +41 (0)22 700 51 51 • F +41 (0)22 700 56 77
Horaires : ma – ve 14:00 – 19:00, sa 14:00 – 18:00 et sur rendez-vous
In 2008, Alan Vega and you were exhibited together at the Kunsthalle-Vienna, for Punk. No One is Innocent, curated by Thomas Mießgang. In which way are you linked with the Punk movement and also with Alan Vega’s work ?
Richard Kern: I wouldn’t say I was directly linked with the Punk Movement unless it was through fanzines I did as a result of being exposed to Punk. Punk was happening in 76, 77, and 78 while I was in college in North Carolina. My friends and I who were studying art were thrilled to read about bands like The Sex Pistols and The Ramones because it gave us some kind of music to listen to that separated us from the rest of the students.
The one thing we picked up was a Do-it-Yourself attitude (DIY) that meant we could make our own magazines, make our own bands etc. This seems like a quaint notion now but at that time the idea that if you couldn’t find what you liked where you lived, you made your own version of what you were looking for was new to us. I started a small magazine featuring me and my friends as a result of this idea. When I moved to New York in 1978 I continued producing these magazines.
My fanzines started as music review magazines but quickly changed to art-zines that featured drawings, photos and writing. I, of course, did the photography and a lot of the writing. A lot of my inspiration came from a magazine I found in the school library called ARTRITE this was a New York based mag started by and run by artists. One of the issues (I still have a copy) was edited by and featured Alan Vega’s work.
The museum at my school also had one of his pieces in a show of contemporary neon art that was organized by one of the teachers. His piece and one by Bruce Nauman were my favorites in this show. Around this time I also was very much into his band Suicide. The title alone was enough to make me buy the record.