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Double exposure self portrait of Brigid Berlin and Willem de Kooning

Brigid Berlin

Untitled (Self Portrait with Willem de Kooning, Double Exposure), 1971


© Vincent Fremont/Vincent Fremont Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved; Photo by Argenis Apolinario

A new exhibition explores the life and work of the artist, whose singular world straddled high society and the cultural demimonde.

To say Brigid Berlin was a complicated character would be an understatement. While Berlin was an artist, an actor, and an all-around creative whirlwind, she might be best remembered for her role in the court of Andy Warhol, for whom she was a close friend and collaborator. But she also straddled another divide: despite her outsized presence among the Downtown art world of the 1960s and ’70s, Berlin was also a child of privilege. Her mother was a well-known New York City social force and her father was an executive at Hearst (which publishes Town & Country)—a world Brigid rejected in her youth but later in life came to embrace. 

These complications might be at the heart of what makes her such a fascinating character, and help drive the excitement around The Heaviest, an exhibition of work by Berlin on view at New York City’s Vito Schnabel Gallery through August 18.