Alejandro Gehry paints a pantheon of punk rock women
By Christina Campodonico
Defiantly figurative, unabashedly sexual and intently focused on the female form, painter Alejandro Gehry’s work is a far cry from the abstract aesthetic of his earliest artistic influences.
Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Chuck Arnoldi and Larry Bell — pioneers of the Los Angeles postwar art scene and the California light, space and pop movements — kept company with his famous father, the world-renowned starchitect Frank Gehry, and their Venice studios weren’t far from the family home in Santa Monica.
“I sort of grew up hanging out with them and going to their openings and their studios. At three or four years old, I’d be able to point [their artwork] out in a museum,” recalls Gehry, who chose to locate his own art studio in Venice.
At 41, Gehry surrounds himself with the creative energy of fierce women — namely titans of punk rock, like Lorna Doom of The Germs, The Bags’ Alice Bag and X’s Exene Cervenka. Their bold music and powerful personas not only inspire Gehry, they envelop him. His outsized, 5’x7’ portraits of them cover his studio walls from floor to ceiling, a pantheon of female punk rock power.
Lorna is a boss, sporting a killer red jacket on one wall. Alice is nonchalant with a pouty lip in the back of the studio. Exene looks like a lioness under a mane of ombré curls. Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex and the entire classic lineup of The Slits are there, too.
“I really do love them all,” says Gehry, who’s unable to pick a favorite, though Alice Bag resonates with him because of their shared Latinx heritage (Gehry’s mom is Panamanian). “I admire them all. I would love to have worked from them in real life.”
Over the past two years, Gehry has been working from photographs to create the series…