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ArtStars*: Richard Kern

ArtStars* is the TMZ of the Toronto art scene, in the good way, making easily digestible videos about the not-so-easily-digestible. Torontoist brings you one new ArtStars* episode (more or less) every week—with the warning that we don’t necessarily approve of their bad behaviour.

You don’t need to tell us. We’ve gained a reputation in the Toronto art world, which is why we’re spreading our wings and venturing out on a world tour this summer. But in the meantime, we interviewed New York portrait photographer and filmmaker Richard Kern, who was in town earlier this month for a retrospective at STUDIO Gallery, which closes on Sunday.
We were told specifically by curator Rafi Ghanaghounian “to be nice” and to “take it easy on this one.” We did. We showed Kern our push up bra from Sears.
Kern is a pervert—or so he tells us.
The fifty-six-year-old artist who shoots dazed-out, Lolita-esque teenagers has directed music videos for Sonic Youth and Marilyn Manson, maintains a sleazy porn site and has been followed by Vice Magazine’s channel, VBS.
Kern did a casting call in Toronto asking for girls who have “the Kern look” to apply. But what does that mean? One rejected applicant observes he doesn’t like girls who are too skinny.
Whatever the “Kern look” is, we don’t have it either—although he photographed us (later he told us we “forced him” to do so on camera for the episode), he told us we wear too much makeup, he doesn’t like dyed hair, and to always arrive in your hottest outfit (definitely not a bedazzled jean jumpsuit).
We contacted him through his website and got our photo. Since then? We’ve cut out the ice cream sandwiches, started exercising and are keeping it blonde, thank you very much, as all divas do.

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