Tony Berlant - KCRW

Literally & Figuratively Speaking, They Nailed It

Edward Goldman talks about the Tony Berlant exhibition at Kohn Gallery, and paintings by John Sonsini at Long Beach Museum of Art.


Berlant collects decades-old tin packaging and metal signs, which he cuts into small shapes and proceeds to nail onto a wood panel, in his signature style of collage. The largest work in the exhibition, Self, is based on a Polaroid image of a young Tony Berlant taken by his friend, Andy Warhol.

A close examination of the surface of his collages makes one think that the source of the artist’s inspiration must be Native American quilting, with the nail playing the role of the needle. There are a number of new, three-dimensional works on display in the shape of rectangular boxes, installed perpendicular to the wall. As a result, one can see many sides of the proverbial coin.