The Art of Code Switching

New Art Exhibition Sets Fall Premiere
at Salomon Arts Gallery in New York City

Fresh off the heels of his last sold-out show in New York, ‘Donald and Victor: Under the Influence,’ visionary artist Don Hershman is set to turn his passion once again into purpose with his newest exhibition of 20 paintings entitled “The Art of Code Switching,” set to debut on Thursday, September 21st, 2023 at the renowned Salomon Arts Gallery in Manhattan’s Tribeca district.


The show is a brilliant symphony of single and double imagery enmeshing color and shadows – used as a metaphor for the increasing need for social navigation. People of color, women and the LGBTQ community are once again faced with Code Switching, a social tool altering language and behavior and becoming increasingly compulsory within today’s shifting political climate. “Like many artists, my paintings are an expression of my personal and political surroundings. It’s 2023. This is what’s happening.”


Originally trained as a board-certified podiatric surgeon in the early 80’s, Hershman reflects on his own life as a gay man of an earlier generation where code switching was clearly linked to his survival. “When I began my formal residency training in the early 80’s I had to relocate to the south, forcing me back into the closet. Creating these new paintings took me on a journey back to a time where there was no political correctness or recourse, easily fired or shunned if it were revealed that I was gay. After residency, I relocated to San Francisco and worked as a podiatric surgeon in an atmosphere engulfed by the AIDS epidemic, where young men often were not only hiding their sexual orientation, but their HIV status as well. They were constantly code-switching without even knowing it.” 

Code Switching #14, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (16”x16”x2”))(Photo Credit: Nick Guttierez)

Code Switching #1, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (36” x 36” x 2.25”))

Originally trained as a board-certified podiatric surgeon in the early 80’s, Hershman reflects on his own life as a gay man of an earlier generation where code switching was clearly linked to his survival. “When I began my formal residency training in the early 80’s I had to relocate to the south, forcing me back into the closet. Creating these new paintings took me on a journey back to a time where there was no political correctness or recourse, easily fired or shunned if it were revealed that I was gay. After residency, I relocated to San Francisco and worked as a podiatric surgeon in an atmosphere engulfed by the AIDS epidemic, where young men often were not only hiding their sexual orientation, but their HIV status as well. They were constantly code-switching without even knowing it.”


Now with The Art of Code Switching his passion to speak on the subject matter is beautifully projected in this new collection. With bravado he takes the viewer on a journey to open their minds to comprehend patience and understanding amongst all mankind.


Follow this link to watch a short video on Code Switching by Don Hershman: https://bit.ly/446Cshb


In recent years Hershman’s career has been catapulted to soaring heights and has captured the minds and imaginations of audiences from coast to coast. His prolific paintings have exhibited around America and artwork has sold in shows from Manhattan to Art Basel Miami to Provincetown, MA during the peak of summer. His work has also received awards including the 2020 Jury Selection at the de Young Museum in San Francisco as well as top recognition in the 2022 MVVO ART/AD art show, which saw his work displayed in the iconic Oculus building in Manhattan. Hershman’s work is also currently being featured at the ARTACOM Southampton this summer.

The show will run until Sunday, October 15th, 2023 and will proudly donate 10% from the proceeds of art sales to The Trevor Project to support the nonprofits suicide prevention efforts among the LGBTQ+ community.

Code Switching #2, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (36” x 36” x 2.25”))

Code Switching #7, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (30” x 24” x 1.5”))

Code Switching #11, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (16” x 16” x 2”))

Code Switching #13, 2023

(Acrylic, ink, and pencil on wood panel (16” x 16” x 2”))

About Don Hershman

Don Hershman leads a dual life of accomplished podiatric surgeon and fine art painter. As a child, Don Hershman was profoundly influenced by his field trips to the world-class museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He fantasized about becoming an artist, drawing incessantly, creating sketchbooks, and experimenting with color well into high school. When it came time to choose a career, he felt compelled to lock in a secure path that pointed toward medicine.


During medical school and surgical residency, he continued to draw, enabling him to better conceptualize the intricate spatial relationships between anatomical structures. As with a scalpel, he began to perfect his command of the pencil and paintbrush.


Donald went on to receive his BA in premed with psychology from State University of New York at Buffalo and trained in podiatry at California college of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco before establishing his own private practice there in the early 1980s. As he was building his medical practice, Don was also evolving a body of artwork, exploring various media in the form of drawings and paintings, and finding his voice as an artist. While hosting a party in 1992, with many of his new artworks hanging in his home, Donald was invited by a guest, a curator at the Spectrum Gallery, to participate in a group show she was organizing. To his surprise, all of his pieces in that show sold, giving Donald the confidence and inspiration he needed to push on more seriously with his art.

Hershman’s work is exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally, and is included in private collections. In 2020, one of Hershman’s pieces was jury selected for a group show at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. In May 2021, he had a successful show, Under the Influence: Donald and Victor, at Salomon Arts Gallery in New York.


In 2022, Hershman had a solo exhibition in Provincetown, MA during Bear Week and will be exhibiting regularly in SF and nationally. He is currently working on his new Barn series, exploring old structures at 2 times the size he normally paints in.


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